"For the record, you basically indicate that the UCI and its current and former leaders may protect certain cyclists suspected of doping and not others, may falsify results and create stars, and that they may be corrupt."
Days later, Mr. McQuaid was then interviewed by Cycling Weekly, portions of which appeared in this article dated February 10, 2011.
"A lot of the stuff he [Landis] says in relation to what went on in those years is probably true," admitted McQuaid....."There was a lot of doping going on in those teams in those years....If it [American Supreme Court decision] proves that the US Postal Team were involved in a lot of doping, it wouldn't necessarily surprise me. In those days it was possible to beat the system."
Last week, however, past-president Hein Verbruggen was back on the warpath as he emerged from the shadows to criticize the cycling media for focusing too much on doping in the sport, which he states only affects "one or two percent of the sport", yet receives "50% of the coverage." Maybe we should cut the old-timer some slack and chalk this statement up to short-term memory loss. But to refresh his memory, let's look at the VeloNews article published on the 16th of this month (the day Armstrong retired for a second time) which showed the list of the top 20 of the 2005 Tour de France - both in terms of placing and doping.
1. Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel2. Ivan Basso, CSC – confessed to Puerto involvement and banned from 2006 Tour ()
3. Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile – connected to Puerto and banned from 2006 Tour
4. Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears – connected to Puerto and banned from 2006 Tour
5. Alexander Vinokourov, Astana – tested positive for doping at 2007 Tour
6. Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner — accused of doping by Floyd Landis and former Gerolsteiner manager
7. Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank – ejected from 2007 Tour while in the yellow jersey
8. Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto
9. Floyd Landis, Phonak – disqualified as 2006 Tour winner for doping
10. Oscar Pereiro, Phonak – alleged to have doped by Landis
11. Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole – admitted EPO use after Festina Affaire
12. Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel – home searched
13. Eddy Mazzoleni, Lampre-Caffita – charged in doping conspiracy after receiving a two-year ban in 2008
14. George Hincapie, Discovery Channel — accused of doping by Floyd Landis
15. Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi
16. Jörg Jaksche, Liberty Seguros – admitted doping since 1997
17. Bobby Julich, CSC
18. Oscar Sevilla, T-Mobile – suspended by team in 2006 for Puerto links
19. Giuseppe Guerini, T-Mobile
20. Carlos Sastre, CSC
Also, 23. Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval-Prodir – tested positive for CERA in 2008
2005 was the year that Lance stood on the podium and said to those who doubted the performance of the upper echilon of Tour cyclists, "I feel sorry for you. I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles."
Even if you exclude everyone on this list that was merely accused or suspected of doping by Floyd, that still leaves 50% of the cyclists finishing in the top 20 guilty of doping. Hein, if you are reading, even a miracle can't make 50% be less than 1%.
How has Floyd responded to all of this seeming hypocrisy? Enter Mr. Chade O. Grey and Mr. Sigmund Manrod, attorneys at law for a firm entitled Grey Manrod, Associates.
Mr. Ditesheim, the previous letter sent by you, dated 07 Feb 2011 requires a retraction by Mr. Landis. It sets a 15-day window for such a retraction to be submitted. Given the points listed above which detail the fundamental concession that Mr. Landis' statements are "probably true", the established fact that Mr. McQuaid and Mr. Verbruggen are public figures, and that Article 17 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights requires the predicate of "unlawful attack" to be the basis for legal recourse, we feel that Mr. Landis has acted in a "lawful" manner at all times since he has disclosed his previous behaviours, has told the truth (as accepted by Mr. McQuaid). We consider the threat of any further legal action against him by your clients to be baseless and frivolous, serving the sole purpose of chilling his voice as it relates to his truthful comments to the media, and further exposure of truths about many facets of professional cycling during this period.
It is public knowledge that Mr. Landis has cooperated with the US Food and Drug Administration in providing his eye-witness accounts and conveyed his truthful knowledge of doping during his cycling career. For your information, providing false statements to the US Food and Drug Administration in the course of an investigation carries with it severe penalties. Mr. Landis maintains that he proffered his truthful recollections to the authorities. Mr. Landis understand his responsibility to tell the truth in this matter, and given the radical and direct contradiction of previously made statements by Mr. McQuaid, it is encouraging to see that they, too, understand the import of coming to terms with the truth in the matter.
Say what you will about past transgressions, Landis brings up some pretty serious contradictions in the UCI's behavior, both formerly and presently. If these questions and allegations were raised by a reporter for the NY Times, or Wall Street Journal, I think they would be taken a lot more seriously and obviously reach a wider audience. But what will the cycling community do with them coming from fictitious (and hilarious) attorneys at law, Grey & Manrod? The questions are the same and just as relevant regardless who is asking them, even if he is wearing double-middle-finger shades.
Oh yeah, and while all of this is going on, Contador is still racing, despite the WADA rule that ANY clenbuterol found in your system is enough to have you serving a suspension. When asked about the long delay and current status of Contador's case, McQuaid said he is just following protocol. But I'm wondering, as are others, what happened to proper protocol for other cyclists like Li Fuyu and Tom Zirbel whose positive A-sample results were announced before B-samples were even tested. Both of them are still sitting out, and appropriately so. Where is the equality amongst cyclists that the UCI is so proud of? It will be interesting to see what Grey Manrod has to say about all of the upcoming developments....
Translation: "Danger! (out of work)" Further translation: "I've got lots of time on my hands, bitches."