week's blog, Blazin' Saddles weighs up Floyd Landis's enlightened method for
saving cycling before dipping Down Under for a look at the first days racing of
the new season.
a little housekeeping. There have been some nasty rumours abounding on Twitter
that your fabled cycling commentator is one of the driving forces behind the
campaign to ban race radios.
scandalous rumours are as harmful as they are untrue. Saddles has never failed
a radio test in his career. But that doesn't stop people sticking in their
oars, spitting in the soup and mixing metaphors till the cows come home.
low-life even sent @saddleblaze a direct message on Twitter, asking him to
comment on the alleged widespread practice of radio sabotage.
are you stupid?" Saddles replied. "Which part of 'Saddles is not
commenting' is not clear to you?'"
not stupid,'' the guy replied, "I'm just asking for a reaction
Saddles is sorry, you're not stupid, but you can't hear. BS is not commenting.
Do you have any more questions because if you want to ask those questions you
may as well switch to Facebook.''
On that note,
Saddles "unfollowed" the chap in question, blocked him from his
Twitter feed, and then moved on to make some snide comment about Floyd Landis
to his own fellowship of 2,410 eager fans.
honestly, you can't please some people out there. Everyone reckons they can run
rings around someone like Saddles. Can you imagine a superstar like Lance
Armstrong having to put up with something on this scale?
So, back to
the disgraced 2006 Tour de France winner Landis, who this week, in a sudden
rush of testosterone-fuelled blood to the head, called on cycling authorities
legalise doping on the basis that the drugs cheats will always be one step
after handing in his shock resignation from the sport, the former Mennonite
from Farmersville, Pennsylvania also said that it's about time FIFA legalised
diving, handballs and tackling from behind in football because he believes some
referees will always struggle to uncover the cheats.
quizzed about Fabian Cancellara's alleged use of a motor concealed within the
frame of his bike in last year's spring classics, Landis said that he was all
in favour of any innovation that made cycling faster and more unpredictable.
at Mark Cavendish riding on his own amongst the road traffic in Australia. How
much better would it have been had the spunky Brit been able to keep up with
that Ford pick-up truck on the final bend?" Landis didn't say.
What he did
say (in a sentence so riddled with numbers that Saddles's innumerate mind went
into a tailspin) was that in "ten years from now it's going to be four
times as hard as it is now to test four things."
say what those four things would be though.
you can't stop it you have to deal with it in rational kind of way,"
Landis added, clearly mistaking the word "rational" for
"ridiculous" (too much whiskey?).
can't stop it and you can't fix it. Monitor it and make sure people don't hurt
themselves, but you have to accept it."
you have it: Landis clearly advocates a safe way of allowing riders turn their
blood to jam and eat dodgy steaks from over the border.
think he's just stirring up the pot to force an ongoing debate," concluded
Saddles fan, the former American professional and convicted doper Joe Papp, who
once provoked Landis into incredulously demanding, "Who the f--- is Joe
news this week, the world reacted with dismay when the French organisers of a
French race announced that four French teams were going to get back-door entry
to the biggest French sporting event of the year instead of letting the
revamped Italo-Spanish Footon-Servetto squad have a pop.
organisers ASO announced that their four wildcard entries for the July race
would be Cofidis, Europcar, Francaise des Jeux and Saur-Sojasun, leaving the
Geox-TMC team of former winner Carlos Sastre and last year's third-place Denis
Menchov without a purpose this summer.
It was a
sad blow for Sastre, who has been an ever-present (although not always
apparent) fixture in the Tour since 2001. This summer will be the Spaniard's
first in 11 years away from the roads of France - and the corresponding Tour of
Austria is likely to provide scant consolation.
can hardly blame the French for wanting to have some French riders in their own
national race. After all, AG2R-La Mondiale are the only French Pro Tour outfit
at the moment and their star Frenchman is John Gadret.
French supporters would prefer a bit of Tommy Voeckler, Sandy Casar and Jerome
Coppel over Deni's uphill crashes and a rider dining out on a one-off
performance from 2008...
Saur-Sojasun will probably be the most shambolic team we've seen in the Tour
since, er, Footon-Servetto last year.
billed to be a ding-dong battle between two former battling team-mates, but so
far the Tour Down Under had proved a damp squib for Messrs Greipel and
kind of forgive Cav - this is the earliest the Brit has raced before in a
season, his HTC team-mate Matt Goss won the opener, and he suffered a horrific
crash in stage two - but the German Gorilla has got to be disappointed.
Greipel won three stages on his way to taking the overall victory, but this January
the Omega-Pharma man is losing to the likes of Goss, Ben Swift, Michael
Matthews and Cameron Meyer. Heck, he's even being outsprinted by Robbie McEwen!
he's simply waiting for his rival to return to form so he can't be accused of
kicking a man when he's down?
anyone else see the irony in Cavendish needing two stitches in the arch of his
eyebrow following a cut sustained from his sunglasses?
"Clenbuterol has been found in his urine but the dose was insignificant.
He didn't win the Tour de France because of that. It's strange that the
substance appeared only once. For me, Contador isn't guilty but McQuaid wants
him to be suspended for solely political reasons." Bjarne Riis simmers in the heat.
Blazin' Saddles throughout the week on www.twitter.com/saddleblaze.
- Floyd Landis