Sunday, September 27, 2009

Floyd Landis Comes to Columbia, Lance Armstong calls Governor Nixon

Floyd Landis to speak at an Arthritis Benefit in Columbia on Nov. 14th.

Missouri is receiving a lot of attention from the pro peloton.  First is this recent announcement from the University of Missouri that Floyd Landis will be presenting a keynote address as part of an Arthritis Benefit hosted by the University's Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory.

Here are the details:  The Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory's 2009 Arthritis Benefit will be held at 6PM on Saturday, November 14th at the Orr Street Gallery.  This benefit is a fundraiser to support the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis in people and animals.  The event will feature a silent auction, dinner and keynote address by professional cyclist Floyd Landis.  Guests pay a donation of $250 per person to attend.  Proceeds go directly to support arthritis research at MU's Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory.  To attend, please contact Gina at

Landis, who races for UCI Continental team OUCH Pro Cycling Team, suffered a fractured hip in January 2003.  It was repaired successfully, but over time, his femoral head became necrotic, resulting in collapse of the bone that makes up the ball of the ball and socket hip joint.  With the loss of underlying bone came the eventual diagnosis of severe advanced osteoarthritis.  After riding through the pain and winning the Tour of California and Tour de France in 2006, he underwent a hip resurfacing procedure.  Having served a two year ban from the sport for allegedly testing positive for synthetic testosterone during the Tour de France, Landis is now back in the saddle again to see if he can overcome the ghosts of the past and become the first major professional cyclist to race successfully on an artifical hip.

I contacted the folks at the University's Ortho Lab and they confirmed all the details above and provided me with the X-rays that Landis' people sent them:

Maybe like all fans of professional cycling, I was devastated when the news was released that Floyd's testosterone levels were abnormally elevated during Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France.  That stage was the single-most amazing day of professional cycling that I had ever witnessed, with him breaking free on an all-day solo ride to set himself up to recapture the yellow jersey which he had previously conceded while suffering a bonk of epic proportions the day prior.  After he was stripped of the maillot jaune and suspended from cycling, his court case went public.  I poured over the court proceedings, voraciously read the counter-arguments and passed along the emailed powerpoint presentation put together in his defense that had been sent to me by other fans, which included all the lab errors made while assessing his samples.  Despite his arguments, he lost the Tour de France title and lost his job for two years.  Did he do it?  Did he put a testosterone patch on after Stage 16 when he bonked so terribly that he barely limped up the final climb?  In the end, it didn't matter.  He served his time and I found that I still liked the guy. 

Last year while in Italy for work, I was speaking with some Italian friends and asked them how the Italian public regards Marco Pantani (Il Pirata), famed cyclist who was suspected and convicted of doping repeatedly late in his career. 

"We love him!" my friend Carlo told me.  He continued, "If Lance Armstrong were found to be guilty of  doping, the Americans would never forgive him.  But we are a Catholic country.  Our very nation thrives on the belief of forgiveness and the chance for redemption."  Unfortunately, Pantani died on Valentines day, 2004, from a suspected overdose of cocaine and a pre-existing diagnosis of clinical depression.  Even after repeated and multiple drug allegations, Pantani was so beloved in his country, that La Gazzetta dello Sport simply wrote "He's gone" to communicate that one of Italy's true legends had died.

I, for one, am looking forward to hearing Mr. Landis speak and think the guy has probably got a lot to say. 

Lance Armstrong calls Governor Nixon about the Tour of Missouri 2010.

Looks like our state is attracting a lot of attention lately.  LA himself announced this on Twitter at 3:27 PM on Sept. 25th. 

Other sources have confirmed that the conversation centered on the Tour of Missouri and its uncertain future.  LA expressed hope that the race would continue with the financial help from more corporate sponsors.

Big props for LA in sticking up for Missouri on this one.  On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that Senate Minority Leader Victor Callahan and several other key Democrats sent a letter to Governor Nixon to urge him to continue to fund the Tour of Missouri stating that the "$1.5 million annual subsidy of the race is a wise tourism investment."  Governor Nixon is as of yet, still undecided on whether he will approve funding for the Tour in 2010.

So let's do some math.  In 2008, the State of Missouri spent $1.5 million on the Tour of Missouri.  What was the return?

As detailed in the official 2008 event recap document, the state made $29.8 million dollars, nearly a 30-to-1 return.  Not a bad investment, eh Governor Nixon?

Pedal on!


  1. Hope you got a chance to speak to Floyd, he IS a really nice guy. Oh and for the record after blogging about it for three years on TBV I do NOT think Floyd doped. Nice picture at the top BTW.


  2. Thanks so much! Picture was taken at the Tour of Missouri time trial.