Monday, November 26, 2007

El Tour de Tucson: LeMond and Rideclean

Greg LeMond was at El Tour de Tucson last November 16th and 17th, with his son Geoffrey. They rode the 109-miles event. I didn't find out whether they finished... I just saw on that Greg got a flat.

He also spoke about doping before the event in an interview to Tucson Citizen:

While Greg LeMond rides the 109-mile El Tour de Tucson on Saturday, his mind will play on different themes.
One, the prestige he knows he brings to the 25th anniversary, which could have a record 10,000 participants.
Two, one of the most important things in life, health - his own, his family's and even that of the American public in general.
And three, the issue that is rocking his sport to its heels - doping.

"I've known for many years it was a time bomb that would eventually go off," said LeMond, who travels the country to speak about clean riding and health. "And I'm quite happy it has gone off. Now the sport can start over again, go free."
LeMond was the first American to win the World Series of cycling - the Tour de France. He won the event three times - 1986, 1989 and 1990 - the last two being sheer-guts attempts after he recovered from a serious hunting accident that prevented him from reaching the form he had in '86.
Saturday is LeMond's third Tour de Tucson. The first was the 33-miler in 2000, and the second was the full 111 miles, which defied his glory days.
"I blew up when I hit the (Sabino Creek) crossing," he said. "I knew where my hotel was, and I went straight back and had lunch."
He wants to go the full 109 Saturday but knows he'll be far off the pace.
"I'm 50 pounds heavier than at my riding weight," the 205-pound LeMond said.

Greg also wore a Rideclean jersey, and is indicating that they would like to work with him as a spokesperson.

Monday, November 19, 2007

1 in 6, it's the horrible statistics of men having suffered forms of sexual abuse in their childhood.

I just found out that Greg LeMond got involved with the nonprofit

Go visit their website for more information.
This organization has for mission to help men start recovery from sexual abuse in young adulthood, and not in the more observed late 30's or 40's.

Greg became a board member in September. The newsletter from 1in6 indicates:

Most recently Greg's courage and personal fortitude was made obvious when he spoke publicly for the first time about his own abusive sexual experiences in childhood. His recovery and desire to reach out and help others has brought him to a place of wanting to be involved with 1in6 as we launch our outreach and program efforts. We applaud Greg's candor and forthrightness in speaking about the issue and welcome him with great excitement to the 1in6 founding board.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Anti-Doping panel

Greg LeMond was participating in a panel discussion about doping last Tuesday in Chicago, hosted by the Chicago Bar Association.

A report on that panel can be found in Cyclingnews, along with a few pictures.

Here are a few quotes from Greg:

Greg Lemond began his speech by talking about how he entered the sport and then the basics of cycling's history of doping, paying particular attention to the final years of his career. "One of our team-mates left our team to an Italian team, saying 'This [doping] is what they are doing - you either provide the same thing or I am leaving.' The coach we had at the time refused and I still respect him to this day," explained Lemond. "That rider saw us before the Tour that year and just laughed at us, saying we had no chance. He said he had ridden the Tour of Spain and didn't feel his legs, not because he was in great shape, but because he had been doping."

"I lasted six days in that Tour de France that year, and that guy died of a heart attack seven months later," added Lemond. "That is when I retired from cycling."

"Most Americans think I am outspoken about this because of Lance Armstrong's success, or Floyd Landis," continued Lemond. "Unfortunately the only time most people have read what I have said about anti-doping in the sport has only been during those years."

Lemond said he is beginning to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for cycling, in regards to the doping scandals. "Finally we have a sport that wants to change, now that there has been an economic impact. So I am more optimistic than I have been in many years. I spoke with the Tour de France director this year and I think for they first time the organizers want this to change - they need this to change, because it is crumbling underneath their feet. But it is going to be a slow process."

In regards to what Thompson said about the lack of fairness inherent in the current system, Lemond disagreed. "I want fairness - I don't want a an athlete to be falsely accused," he outlined. "But within the sport of cycling I don't know of one false positive that was not, years later, that it was positive. Unlike the defense attorneys, I think the process is skewed [in favor of] the athletes. The governing bodies have to live to a higher standard than even our criminal justice system. The criminal lab's standards are so low relative to scientific labs. And circumstantial evidence still does matter."

In short, Lemond reiterated his stance on anti-doping to an audience not made-up of cycling enthusiasts, putting it this way. "I see these athletes like Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton - they're not bad people, but they get in a situation where the tests aren't reliable or not testing and they feel that they have to keep up and compete."

It's not the first time that Greg LeMond is mentioning Philippe Casado dying a few months after leaving Gan. This experience seems to be quite at the heart of his anti-doping fight. I hope that Roger Legeay, the coach he is mentioning, has stayed 'incorruptible' all along.

I'm kinda glad to see Greg pointing out himself that it's a pity that so many people think he started speaking up against doping only since Armstrong won more than 3 Tours. I wrote a letter to Cyclingnews a bit ago about that, and I was mentioning in that letter an interview he did to "Le cyclisme international" in 1993 or 1994. He was already talking about Ferrari there. I tried to get back my hands on that issue, but didn't find it yet (too many movings in my life... ). It had Greg on the cover, in a Gan team jersey crossing his arms. If anyone has a scan of that, don't hesitate to share it somewhere!

I'm quite fed up with reading so often that he should have spoken out before, that it shows he is just jealous, while he did speak up! I'd like that there exists somewhere on the internet a real physical proof to refer to, showing that he did...