The Racing Exploits of Team Labor Power
Pound's Trial By Water: If Floyd Floats, He's a Witch. If He Sinks,
He's Dead Anyway or, How
the WADA/USADA Anti-Floyd Intifada Helped Restore Respect for the
FL: I don't expect to win the Tour at this point, it's not
easy to get back eight minutes, but I'll keep fighting. It's not
How do you deal with this from a mental standpoint?
I don't know. Drink some beer? That's what I'm thinking about
--Floyd Landis, After Stage 16 of the Tour
"It's a great story, but if it seems too good to be true,
it probably is. He was 11 minutes behind [sic], and all of a sudden
there's this Herculean effort, where he's going up mountains like
he's on a goddamn Harley."
--Dick Pound, Chief BlueCoat, WADA/USADA Intifada
"Bitter Good. Sour Bad."
Kash Agro, Back in The Day
know the story. In dumbed-down bikie parlance, Floyd had a "bad
day" and lost the yellow jersey. He didn't bonk. He didn't
crash or crater. On that one day, he just couldn't go as fast as
everyone else, his "form" woefully absent. That night,
did he curse the gods, throw in the towel, or cry in his spilled
he had a beer, a big fat Belgian Ale, brewed by Trappist monks,
for whom a fine ale is a decent substitute for sweat-soaked sex.
And he ruminated. MKA, having plotted many winning strategies himself
with the aid of Belgian beer, imagines the conversation with self
went something like this: "The bastards. I'll show 'em.
F that. I don't care about them. That's sour. I care about me -
me and my boys, who carried me, who believed. I care about my dignity.
I'm better than today. I swear, tomorrow, somebody's gonna get punched
in the neck."
"somebody" of course was Father Shame, that tinny
inner voice that counsels "it's all over Johnny, lay down,
don't embarrass yourself any more than you already have."
We all know that Floyd went on to smack Father Shame in the
neck, before he cut it clean off and pissed down the stump.
did he do it? That's a question that has invited much speculation.
Some say it was pure rage. Others say it was tactical brinkmanship
aided and abetted by Lady Luck. And still others say it was
the most magical of all performance enhancing compounds -
plain old H20. The theory being that alone off the front he
had the liberty to douse his steaming head at will, to prevent
but Enthused. After a monumental Flail on Stage 16, Floyd
loses the Yellow J, but gains newfound, deeper and richer
bitterness. Suddenly, pounding peckerheads has become personal.
Photo provided by MKA
Therapy. Floyd, on a quest, finds that sweet spot between
hot headed madness and cool-headed comfort. As he said later,
"I didn't spend too much time thinking during the stage."
Enemy, thy name is ratiocination.
Photo provided by MKA
there's the other, sadly more popular theory.
few harried techs in a gypo French Lab with a history of sloppiness
first mislabeled the specimens then measured them against
a questionable standard not shared by other labs and finally
concluded that it was drugs - epitestosterone, to be exact.
Never mind that the French lab techs broke a bunch of rules
to reach this result. Never mind that the same specimen if
read by the UCLA lab would have been negative. Never mind
that Floyd had never tested positive before or after stage
16. Never mind that a single spike of epi could not possibly
have generated a boost of this magnitude.
never mind that Floyd was and is the personification of grit and
tenacity. This was a young lad who had paid his dues, rising from
the septic tank in Farmersville he once shoveled in the dead of
winter to come out to Orange County a decade ago where according
to lore he narrowly edged MKA one fine morning at Como Worlds on
his way to fame and free board on Horseteef's coveted couch as Mercury's
strongest plowhorse. Floyd was no "one-shot wonder" come
out of nowhere to steal the show. He had the numbers. He put in
the hours, he "rode it like he stole it", and not once
did he complain about his rotten, pain-stabbing hip as he won race
after race to get ready for the big dance.
forget about that. That one positive drug test, despite it's fuzziness,
destroyed everything. Before you could say "Cotton Mather,"
Floyd was accused, tried, convicted and punished for sins against
a sad and ongoing tale that's been the subject of much thoughtful
commentary. But here's what irks MKA: the near joyous ease with
which the Crabcoats, and eventually the cow-eyed public, quickly
chalked up the Epic Ride of the Century to artificial enhancers.
Guilt was presumed. The fact of Floyd's great ride became Exhibit
one in the prosecution's case against him.
misunderstand. MKA knows that most cyclists are envious idiots who
measure every performance against their own standard, which is a
line that usually hovers between mediocrity and abject failure.
Once, MKA won back to back Como Worlds (granted, he did motorpace
off of cars, but that's beside the point). Otherwise decent folks
began whispering that MKA was "on the juice," which I
took as sort of a compliment , on account that taking juice required
a level of pre and post ride discipline that just didn't square
with the fact that for me remembering to fill my bottle with Cytomax
meant I had become a "serious player."
it's not surprising that the Crabcoats and many cyclists presumed
guilt. The Crabcoats got to trumpet their high-minded hooey about
how they are protecting the noble sport from cheaters. Pin-headed
cyclists got a break from the ugliness of having to admit they'd
never rise to Floyd's level, since being Floyd now meant you had
to drug up. And the general public never had much trouble enjoying
the downfall of a hero.
it surprising is that the very authority charged with promoting
"health, fairness and equality for athletes" would so
righteously stomp all over the rights of an athlete. I am speaking
of course of the Crabcoat-in-Chief, Dick Pound, the over-achiever
who heads up WADA when he's not writing tomes on tax shelters, adding
more deep pile chevrons to his doctoral gown, or desperately trying
to convince the world that despite his unfortunate birth name he
is neither a wanker nor a spanker.
Pound/Flail may already be well known to you as the modern day Inspector
Javert who doggedly sought to prove Lance was a doper (citing as
evidence, I'm sure, the impossible 7 yellow jersies). Not finding
any, he didn't give up, but continued to thunder accusations with
a singular passion that earned him a rare but somewhat timid censure
from his colleagues at the IOC, who no doubt were spooked by the
specter of a possible defamation action.
his latest crusade against Floyd, Mr. Pound has continued to let
the fact of a great performance be proof enough of doping. MKA has
taken the trouble of bringing to you a few of Mr. Pound's quotes.
As you read them, ask yourself, if you were accused of a crime,
and your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness was on the line,
would you want Judge Pound to preside over your case? I write "Judge"
Pound because oddly enough Mr. Pound belongs to a small pool of
arbitrators who have been approved by the Crabcoats to judge doping
cases. Theoretically, Mr. Pound could have been selected to judge
Floyd's case, and he certainly can be selected to judge any action
that may be in your 12k Dream driven future.
August 14, Pound wrote an opinion column in a Canadian newspaper
in which he implored Landis to come clean, confess and save the
sport by identifying his enablers. Can anyone say: "Just sign
the papers! Resistance is futile!" Pound argued against any
notions that Landis could be innocent, or that the evidence may
be faulty. Instead, strangely enough, he attacked USADA (the same
body that has refused to give up any exonerating evidence but is
hell bent to dig up new incriminating evidence) for not being cynical
enough. He suggested that Floyd, if allowed to put on a full case
by any ordinary standard of due process, just might be able to bamboozle
the gullible milquetoasts over USADA into accepting the theory that
he was "ambushed by a roving squad of Nazi frogmen and
injected against their will with the prohibited substances."1
the same article, Pound repeated the charge that Landis was guilty
of doping in a way calculated to show that Pound agreed, without
explicitly concurring. "Landis, winner of the fabled Tour de
France, following a Cinderella comeback late in the race, erasing
a disastrous day before, now seems to have taken a morning-after
pill to recover from the previous failure and will likely
be stripped of the crown that is the dream of all cyclists - the
Yellow Jersey in the showcase event of cycling."2
for Pound, a former swimmer turned tax scholar who probably never
engaged in man-to-man combat in a ruthless, savage bloodsport like,
uh, cycling, the only explanation for Floyd's amazing ride was that
old blackmagic packed in a pill. Any theory to the contrary would
be absurd. Reminder: these are quotes from the Chief Crabcoat at
WADA, which ultimately could rule on any appeal.
Pound/Flail's bias against Floyd was clear before he was formally
charged. We know the protocol: the athlete urinates in a cup, which
is split into two containers. If the first container, the A test,
is positive, then and only then will the second container be tested.
An athlete can only be charged with a positive if the B sample confirms.
Before Floyd's B sample was tested, or the results made known, Pound
has already made his mind up, which he gladly shared with anybody
holding a camera. "It's always disappointing when you
see something like this," Pound told the Associated
Press. "You build up and create a new hero, and he gets
slapped down. It's a serious blow."3
a stunned but vigilant Floyd began to fight back, and poke holes
in USADA's case, Pound's infantile slurs dropped to new lows. To
wit. "'Roid Floyd? His nickname on the circuit was 'Roid
Floyd. But I repeat it as hearsay only."4
Now, MKA is no bike geek, and I don't profess to have an inventory
of all the nickies beyond Orange County, nor am I on the circuit,
but I know Billy Stone, who is all of the above, and I asked him
about this sobriquet - "'Roid Floyd," and he never heard
of it, and they're practically pals. And it would have been newsworthy,
too - why would a skinny mountain climbing endurance athlete want
to hulk up with steroids? The answer is, I think, Mr. Pound fell
in love with his power, made up the quote, and threw in the legal
disclaimer because he knew he was skating on very thin ice.
time marched on, Pound's smack continued to betray a mental condition
. He described Floyd's Stage 17 win "as a great story,"
adding, "but if it seems too good to be true, it probably
is. He was 11 minutes behind [sic], and all of a sudden there's
this Herculean effort, where he's going up mountains like he's on
a goddamn Harley."5
at the start of stage 17, Floyd was in 11th place about 8 minutes
back, not 11 minutes. Second, is Pound suggesting that anytime an
athlete bravely goes where no man has gone before that it's time
to biopsy the liver for drugs? MKA thought his job was to foster
athletic greatness, not retard it. Or, as the head of WADA which
relies on government funding is Mr. Pound just another jelly donut
eating bureaucrat trying to justify his budget? Third, get your
metaphors right Dick. Harleys are hogs. Hogs slosh around in the
mud and oink alot. If you're starting with the Roman god metaphor,
stay with it. You meant to say that Floyd flew up
those mountains like Hermes, the speedy messenger god with
the winged sandals, who as we all know is Hercules' cousin.
fourth, Dick, have you ever watched a bike race? Yes, each
of us harbors images of Floyd single handedly destroying the
pelaton. We close our eyes and see him one by one dropping
the best of the best (as he had been dropped and left for
dead the day before). But, in terms of average watts per kilo,
was Floyd's effort truly "super human" or "Herculean"
in a physical sense? Check his numbers. My guess is he probably
expended more energy on stages where he simply finished with
made Floyd's ride so majestic was the confluence of many factors:
his rivals were tired (and entitled to their own bad day),
they bet that Floyd's attack was for show, that he was simply
venting anger, that he would never survive 128 kilos over
five mountain climbs, they'd let him out of respect have his
moment and he'd soon fizzle out.
Outta here. Was he thinking, I have nothing to lose, or I've
got my respect to gain? A warrior on a quest makes his own
Photo provided by MKA
made a tactical decision to hang it out there, with his team's support,
just as his rivals made a tactical decision to let him go. Just
as for every pound, there's a flail, or every hero there's a goat,
and one can just as easily lambaste Oscar, Carlos and Kloden for
miscalculating Floyd's grit and sitting back until it was too late.
to Mr. Pound's relentless do-gooderisms. Referring to Landis's reported
T/E ratio, a measure used to identify doping, Pound told the New
York Times, "You'd think he'd be violating every virgin
within 100 miles. How does he even get on his bicycle?"6
Nellie. What have we got here? I'm no shrink, but is our tough-talking
Drug Buster suffering from some kind of "cherry-pop envy?"
What's the word: "projection"? Where a prig who harbors
all sorts of unseemly sexual obsessions attributes those same perversions
to others (see Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker)? The kind
of tortured double-life hypocrite, to paraphrase the famous German
uber racer Fred Nietzsche, who fights with monsters only to become
one, who gazes too long into the abyss until the abyss gazes back?
Dick, MKA's libido is as froggy as the next frustrated mid-lifer,
but can't say it ever crossed my mind that Floyd would be
violating virgins. Besides which, by all accounts, Floyd's happily
married to a super hot wife, so MKA's not so sure Floyd has much
need or interest in deflowering virgins, which if I remember correctly
takes a lot of work and is highly overrated.
in the Neck! At the top of Morzine, 120 kilos after launching
his epic attack, Floyd prepares to punch out his Phantoms,
without falling flat on his face. Delerium, take me!
Photo provided by MKA
MKA's no doctor, but I'm not sure high testosterone corresponds
to the size of one's sack. But I'm with you that one Dick, when
I hear that somebody else has naturally high testosterone, I
too feel sort of inadequate, like maybe I'm short changing Darling
short, a dumb thing to say, and not very funny, and mean-spirited
to boot. Perhaps an acceptable comment by a fellow smack-cracker
in the anything-goes HackPack (that notorious in your face
cyberworld where judicial restraint is a liability), but hardly
appropriate for the King of WADA who has the ears, balls and
paychecks of the USADA arbitrators in his unclean hands.
we wind down, here's one of my favorites. After slinging mud at
Floyd for months, and using his bully pulpit to condemn Floyd for
the temerity of demanding old fashioned American due process, Mr.
Pound declared that he truly was neutral and had no axe to grind.
"The source of the skepticism is the Landis entourage itself
which wants to create some doubts about the process, the labs or
the tests. But we at WADA have never said anything about the
guilt or innocence of the person involved."7
that! Yesterday, somber and beffuddled, today, exuberant and
mighty. The Pound/Flail spirit runs strong in this paleface.
Photo provided by MKA
Pound has of course said much about the guilt of Floyd Landis
and nothing about his innocence, except to suggest that any
notions of same are preposterous (eg, Nazi frogmen, Roid-Floyd,
the titillating possibilities of an enlarged nutsack, etc).
In so doing, by my count, he's used up all but three of the
seven deadly sins (lust, wrath, envy and pride). What the
heck, let's throw in Sloth too, on account Dick's refusal
to weigh the evidence carefully underscores the sin of laziness.
Will Now Don the Black Robes and Silver Wig
should we care what a blowhard says? Well, MKA, himself a
blowhard, will take a stab at answering, and forgive me for
dropping the agro in favor of a more formal tone.
Mr. Pound is the head of an agency that is responsible for
making sure the evidence is reviewed impartially, the science
is sound, and the rules are fair. Second, his comments express
an opinion about the guilt or innocence of the accused, while
the case is being arbitrated. And third, whether by design
or not, his pattern of bashing the accused has had the effect
of influencing the opinions of the public, which includes
only are Mr. Pound's slurs unfounded, and intemperate, they send
the message that WADA has pre-judged Floyd's case. The message to
athletes who test positive is that they are presumed guilty and
that the appeals process is but an empty formality -- a very very
expensive formality. This message contravenes the tenets of due
process and invites genuine disrespect for the integrity of USADA's
receives substantial funding from the federal government. When the
rules under which athletes are tried do not safeguard the rights
of the accused and result in unfair adjudications, legislators should
certainly begin taking a hard look at whether or not this is a wise
use of taxpayer dollars. Mr. Pound's reckless ad hominem attacks
hurt the important fight against doping because they imply that
the adjudication process is at best perfunctory and at worse a charade.
Floyd included, I'm sure support efforts to even the playing field
by deterring, ferreting out and punishing doping offenders. However,
neither athletes, the American public, nor their legislators should
support a process that is merely show. If Mr. Pound cared about
the integrity of the sport as much as he says, he should spend less
time destroying Floyd's reputation, and more time cleaning up a
drug testing and adjudication system that has serious scientific
and legal flaws.
should you care? Have you ever been deeked by a despotic blue coat
for a center line violation you never did, or a chop you never made,
or a statement you never made, or for drafting that never happened?
Did that upset you some? Now imagine what it must feel like to have
the yellow jersey ripped off your back, endorsement deals dropped,
prize money withheld, your pursuit of a living taken away, your
character besmirched and your reputation dragged through the mud.
Floyd signed the same waivers we all signed. He signed up with this
stoopid sport to race his bike. He, like all of us, assumed he'd
be treated by the Crabcoats with some measure of respect. A drunk
who plows his truck into a daycare center killing children has more
rights than Floyd has.
matter what the arbitrators decide on May 14th, Floyd is a champion,
on a many levels. He has brought to our attention the need to drastically
reform the system. At a minimum, all the governing bodies -- USOC,
IOC, USADA, WADA, etc -- should immediately:
Ensure that rules against conflicts of interest in choosing arbitrators
is strictly enforced. An arbitrator should be ineligible if he has
worked for USADA prosecutors.
The accused athlete must be allowed to obtain all relevent evidence,
whether it exonerates or inculpates. This includes he right to cross
examine adverse witnesses in depositions. Truth and transpareny,
not expedience and win at any cost.
Harmonize the anti doping rules so the accused faces only one trial,
not multiple trials in different countries. The run of the mill
12k Dreamer cannot afford to hire lawyers and scientists to defend
against one false accusation in his own backyard (estimated cost:
$1.4 million), let alone in France, Switzerland and wherever as
Strictly enforce laboratory protocol. If a sample is mishandled,
mislabeled, or misused, the results should be voided, just as when
evidence seized by an illegal search or seizure is thrown out in
After a full public notice and comment hearing, establish doping
standards that are both accepted by the scientific community and
universally applied from nation to nation. It's a cardinal rule
that the burden is on the state to write laws so they are easy to
read and understand. In Floyd's case, the positivity criteria applied
by the French lab is different (stricter) than the lab in the U.S.
(it's been noted that had the anti-doping lab at UCLA tested the
same specimens, they would not have found them positive). If WADA/USADA
is going to put its faith in science (that is, if positive, then
guilty), then it better be sure the standards are the result of
vigorous scrutiny and independent peer review. We need to know that
the substances that have been banned are truly the kind that artificially
boost performance, that the methods used to detect those substances
are reliable, and the technicians interpreting those results are
Allow athletes to appeal an adverse decision to a civil district
court. USADA has expelled much hot air lecturing Floyd that he is
in "arbitration," which is not "litigation,"
and thus by definition he must accept that he does not enjoy basic
procedural and substantive due process. This is another way of saying:
we make the rules, we enforce the rules, you are presumed guilty,
and confess now, as everyday notions of justice must be sacrificed
in our war against drugs. In some cases, USADA even makes up the
rules as they go along.
now, we should be concerned. Mr. Pound is the proverbial Fox guarding
the chicken coop. Any athlete who does something extraordinary is
suspicious. Any athlete who tests positive is, in a word, doomed.
14, 2006, CyclingNews.com
2 August 14, 2006, CyclingNews.com
3 January 2007, Wired.com
4 January 2007, Wired.com
5 January 9, 2007, BBC
6 January 7, 2007, New
7 January 24, WCSN.com
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