I received my Velonews 2007 Tour de France guide the day before I got my copy of Floyd's book. Oddly enough, the masthead got my attention: "The Official Guide to the Tour de France is produced under license from (ASO) by L'Equipe..."
I freely admit I have a real love-hate relationship with Le Tour: it has to be the most beautiful and intriguing sporting event in the world. I decided long ago that the one thing that will make me buy into HDTV is when I can get TdF coverage in hi-def. And then, most likely, I will look to see what electronics company sponsors a pro cycling team, and buy their product.
But, the tour organizers and owners are a corrupt lot of annoying fascists. When a person wins a sorting event, that person is the winner, plain and simple. Yes, if that person is proven, under whatever rules he sport adopts prior to the event, to have violated the rules, they can be declared to not be the winner. While due process and presumption of innocence are a deeply ingrained American tradition, I see no reason why they can't be the rule of the day in sport in other parts of the world. The cliche' "the rules are made to be broken" also carries the corollary "if you break the rules, you will be penalized." This is always to be expressed as a simple "if-then" proposition. Le Tour bosses don't seem to recognize this simple basic tenet of fairness. ASO President Patrice Clerc recently said: "What is clear it is that Floyd Landis did not win it, at least for the Tour organization. ... But the UCI has yet to remove his title, and I suppose that Landis is going to go to all the courts he can to defend himself."
First he will be given a fair trial. Then he will be convicted, bankrupted and disgraced.
To those ends, I want nothing to do with ASO or the French tabloid L'Equipe. (As to the latter, there is still the issue of their presumption of guilt of a certain multiple TdF winner from Texas...) I had a yellow TdF cycling hat. I now use it for a chain rag.
As Bob Roll puts it, "V is for Velonews, without which nobody would know shit." I like VN, and will likely renew. But thanks to ASO and L'Equipe, everyone knows lots of shit. Or as my dad says "they know lots of things that just ain't so."
Anyway, back to Floyd's book. Ask yourself this while you read it: would you trade places with Floyd? Would you go through what he is going through?
I know my answer, and I'm only through the first chapter...