Polite discussion and black tape

News & Results

03/5/2013| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis in their US Postal days Fotoreporter Sirotti

Polite discussion and black tape

Some of the main protagonists in the doping scandal met at Yale.

If you're like me you've been catching up with Europe's first major stage race of the year, Paris-Nice. Depending on where you live your television is either tuned in on EuroSport or the computer is fired up and Paris-Nice is streaming onto your monitor.

As always the New Year means new technology. I've said it before: I'm a tech geek. So I couldn't help but laugh when I saw that the winner of the 2013 Paris-Nice prologue, Damien Gaudin of Team Europcar had black tape over a front-facing vent in his helmet.
Thousands of euros probably went into the design of that helmet and the finishing touch to make it a little more aero was tape. It worked as he beat Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) by one second. How soon before I see helmet vents taped over at our local time trials? Is black tape the new technology to be banned by the UCI? Will tape only be allowed if it's applied using the 3:1 ratio that the UCI has deemed appropriate?

Regardless the 2013 road season is on, but what would a week of professional cycling be without some drama? Last Thursday Yale University hosted a panel discussion on doping in professional cycling called “Spinning Our Wheels.”

Moderated by Jacob Hacker, a Yale law professor and cyclist, the panel consisted of Tom Murray - a bioethicist, Travis Tygart - CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Jonathan Vaughters - manager of the Garmin-Sharp professional cycling team, and Floyd Landis - former winner of the 2006 Tour de France and now a retired professional cyclist with a namesake gran fondo.

Called “Spinning Our Wheels” the purpose of the panel was to discuss doping which was rampant in the late 1990s to 2000s and the effect it had on the professional peloton. As Vaughters said, “EPO caused the face of the sport to change.”

The panel was the idea of Landis who had initially approached Yale with the idea for two reasons. First, wanting to discuss publically doping in the professional peloton and, second, because - as Landis puts it - “I like to talk in front of people.”

Landis is unable to discuss details regarding the whistleblower suit against Lance Armstrong which the federal government has decided to join.

While there was no additional or breaking news arising from the panel discussion it was Landis' first public appearance in a panel, which in itself was kind of interesting. Was he going to show up looking like a crazed homeless guy? No. Instead he appeared in a suit and tie appearing normal. I was kind of disappointed as a part of me wanted him to make Charlie Sheen “Tiger Blood”-type statements because, selfishly, that just makes for easy writing.

When the Spinning Our Wheels panel discussion concluded, Landis carved out a few minutes in his busy schedule for me to get his thoughts. At times he took my questions very seriously and other questions not so much.

I asked how he felt the “Spinning Our Wheels” panel discussion went.

“I think it accomplished its


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