If you wikipedia the list of Tour de France winners, in it’s soon to be 100 year history, there is a strange title granted in 6 slots from 1999-2005. This is the time period being called the doping years in which Lance Armstrong, perhaps the biggest cheat in sports, had his named removed and replaced with “vacated.”
This may be the time to replace that word vacated with “the Truth” as Armstrong goes on Oprah’s NOW network and reveals all in a 2 1/2 hour television spectacle being stretched out for two days, Thursday (1/17) and Friday (1/18)
Regardless of Armstrong’s hopes for redemption and motivations behind this public confession, it does seem the truth is being rewarded on the podium in an era where federal investigations on doping athletes are going nowhere even despite confessions from former team mates and fellow cyclists closely aligned with the sport.
One journalist who has an exceptional talent for flushing out the truth in sports and reporting on the politics of the game is David Zirin, author and sports editor for the Nation magazine.
He knows a thing or two about these kind of politics infecting professional sports and is about to release his latest book, “Game Over, how politics has turned the sports world upside down.” released 1/29/2013
David recently published a piece on the upcoming Lance interview in his blog: edgeofsports.com
I wanted to broaden the discussion a bit about this over buzzed cycling story so I asked David a couple of questions:
1) How do you think this would affect the sports world and fan appreciation if this were Barry Bonds confessing on Oprah?
Zirin: I think because of his work on Livestrong and previous popularity – not to mention the fact that he’s white – creates more cultural space for Lance Armstrong to be forgiven as opposed to Barry Bonds who was prickly, had issues with the media, and faced racism in his career from fans and media alike. But one difference in Bonds’ favor is that no one has accused him of actually leading a ring of a performance enhancing drugs (PED) users. He also never sued anyone for defamation. That’s different.
2) What do you think this media stunt does for the world of professional cycling and doping in sports in general? Does it send a message to cheaters and will it change the sport?
Zirin: We will have to see. Cycling needs a massive reformation in terms of making the sport safer and de-incentivizing PED use. Let’s see if it does. I’m not hopeful. If it’s just about criminalization, then we know that this only leads to more research and funding that goes into finding ways to beat the test.
Here is the story David wrote in his blog:
Lance Armstrong’s Discordant Redemption Song
This week Lance Armstrong, our most famous cyclist/cancer survivor/suspected Performance Enhancing Drug user, aims to do something more daunting than ride a bike up the face of the Pyrenees. He is attempting to ride Oprah’s couch back into the good grace of public opinion. On Monday night, Armstrong will, after 15 years of strenuous, Sherman-esque denials, “come clean” and admit to imbibing in illegal “performance enhancers” during his record-setting career. This will not go well and not only because when the broadcast finally airs Thursday night, it will have already been leaked, dissected, and thoroughly flambéed.
If Armstrong was only trying to win back the public support he’s lost since the United States Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles, that could prove challenging enough. But he is attempting the public relations of equivalent of riding his bike through the eye of a needle. Armstrong needs to demonstrate to USADA that he is now on, according to reports, a “path to redemption”. This interview is meant to encourage USADA to lift their lifetime ban on Armstrong’s competitive career and allow him to enter triathlons as well as other events under the USADA umbrella.
The number of bicycle racks will double in NYC, according to the Epoch Times.
12,000 Bicycle Racks coming to New York City
By: Zachary Stieber
January 10th, 2013
NEW YORK—The number of bicycle racks will more than double with 12,000 new racks on the way.
The city’s Department of Transportation will spend almost $2 million transforming old parking meters into bicycle racks, according to a bid won by Long Island-based Louis Barbato Landscaping. A representative of the company declined to give details about the sealed contract, which was published in the City Record on Jan. 8.
Single-space parking meters are no longer used, in favor of muni-meters, which take care of multiple parking spaces. The department decided to experiment with using the old meters as bicycle racks, starting a design contest back in 2008 for how the new racks would look.
A map of the existing bicycle racks in the city. (Courtesy of DOT)
Right now there are 8,193 bicycle racks in the city, according to the Department of Transportation. About 4,000 of those are in Manhattan.
At the first RHC all registered competitors must participate in a open track session which will be held on the afternoon of the race. This session will be the only opportunity to pre-ride the circuit. The field will be split into multiple groups depending on the amount of registered riders and circuit length. Lap times will be taken during the session with the 100 fastest lap times advancing into the race. This will benefit experienced athletes, novices, and spectators. Elite athletes will now be competing in a field with an accumulative higher skill level creating a safer and more competitive race. Beginners who fail to qualify still have the opportunity for more competitive track time than the current lapped rider elimination format allows. Prizes will be awarded to the fastest qualifying time and determine call ups for the two front rows.
Rules for Round 1: Brooklyn, March 30th (subject to change)
– All registered riders will be divided randomly into smaller qualifying groups
– Each session is 30 minutes in length.
– All lap times during the session will be recorded using timing chips
– Drafting is allowed
– Pushing, pulling, or slingshotting another rider is not allowed
– Blocking is not allowed
– The top 100 fastest lap times will advance into the race.
– Call ups for the first two rows of the race will be determined by qualifying times
– Prizes will be awarded to the fastest qualifying time
– Ties will be decided on each rider’s next fastest lap.
– Qualifying will take place the same day as the race.
– Riders must enter and exist the course using delineated ‘pit lane’
– Riders must remain in the Parc Ferme area during their qualifying session
– Equipment changes are allowed but must follow same technical rules as the race
– Each rider is allowed (1) assistant in Parc Ferme to help with equipment changes.
New York’s first ever indoor cycling velodrome is not happening, at least not at its proposed location in the newly developed Brooklyn Bridge Park. Rich cycling enthusiast, Joshua P. Rechnitz is pulling out his $50 million donation (the largest in NYC park history) and looking elsewhere in NYC or New Jersey for someone who might be willing to take his most generous offer. Last time I checked, outdoor public spaces (besides Central Park) weren’t exactly inundated with huge lumps of funding. Mr. Rechnitz’s organization handling the project, NYC Fieldhouse is still very optimistic about fulfilling their bosses dream of an indoor track and eager to find a new home. The decision came after a meeting on Monday based on the park not being able to agree on a design that would work with the budgeted amount. There were also concerns about future hurricane flooding which means all those new condos built down there on the water must be just fine. The project has also met with a lot of resistance from local residents with a “what the hell is a velodrome and why would anyone need that,” attitude which would have also presented many obstacles in the approval phase. Well good to know the space will go to something we can all get behind, parking for maintenance vehicles. No surprise a cycling project was met with a lot of close minded people, just look at the fight to keep a bike lane on Prospect Park West. I mean Brooklyn doesn’t just give any millionaire:
a sports facility in Brooklyn, based on the sport they’re into:
Here is a New York Times article by cycling reporter J David Goodman:
Philanthropist Abandons Plan for Velodrome in Brooklyn Park
By: J. David Goodman
Published: January 10, 2013
Eight months after it was first announced to the surprise and bewilderment of many New Yorkers, an improbable but well-financed plan to bring a bicycle racing track to Brooklyn Bridge Park has collapsed.
Joshua P. Rechnitz, the reclusive philanthropist behind the project, said on Wednesday that he and his team had withdrawn their proposal for the park and would seek another location in or around the city for the indoor sports complex.
You know it’s coming, once again Minneapolis will open it’s arms and bars to the bike world for Stupor Bowl 16.
The race is being worked on right now, what we are looking from you are photos from the past 15 years to make a photo collage for this years upcoming race.
Post any photos or even videos and what the heck even memories and get ready for more fun in the snow(hopefully) this year!!!!
Time: February 2, 2013 all day
Location: One on One Bicycle Studio
Street: 117 Washington Ave North
City/Town: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Then here in NYC, the world famous fixed gear only:
Monster Track XIV (14)
Details so far:
Thursday March 14 /Goldsprints
Friday March 15 /pre registration/fashionshow/photo-booth/party
Saturday March 16 Alleycat $5 to race/party (mega metal show+ d.j.dance party after
Sunday March 17 movie day /race footage review
twitter @monstertracknyc #monstertrack14
Time: March 14, 2013 at 7pm to March 17, 2013 at 7pm
City/Town: New York, NY
Website or Map:
This looks like the end of a saga for a the most controversial figure in sports. Lance Armstrong will give a tell all interview on Oprah, airing on her network at 9pm, January 17th.
From the Huffington Post: Lance Armstrong Grants Oprah Winfrey Rare Televised Interview
LOS ANGELES — Lance Armstrong has agreed to a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey where he will address allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
According to a release posted on Oprah’s website on Tuesday, it’s the first interview with Armstrong since his athletic career crumbled under the weight of a massive report by USADA detailing allegations of drug use by the famous cyclist and teammates on his U.S. Postal Service teams.
It’s unclear if the interview at Armstrong’s home in Austin, Texas, has already been taped. Nicole Nichols, a spokeswoman for Oprah Winfrey Network & Harpo Studios, declined comment.
The show will air at 9 p.m. EST on Jan. 17 on OWN and Oprah.com.
A few crotchety rich neighbors who would rather put their own personal gripes forward then think about the safety of their neighborhood and overall health of the community were rewarded by Santa for being naughty.
Turns out a lower court of appeals has agreed to cave into the NIMBY’s (Not in My Back Yard) crowd and try to derail one of the most successful safe streets project in NYC. Yep, we’re talking about the Prospect Park West bike lane. I know, many of you thought this was as dead an issue as that “grandma got ranover song,” nope.
According to the Daily News:
“An appellate panel ruled Wednesday that a lower court improperly tossed a suit brought by irate opponents of the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane trying to force the city to rip out the cyclist path.
They charge that the city lied about figures on the Park Slope lane’s benefits-and improperly plotted with pro-bike groups to stymie opposition.
In a nutshell this group of neighbors don’t necessarily hate the lane itself (cough cough) but rather the way the DOT went about doing the data of traffic safety and the overall implication of the lane. They feel, the bike lane was billed as a trail and therefore temporary.
This is also in total disregard of reality of facts such as:
1) the lane was asked for by the local community residents of community board 6.
2) implemented with traffic data by the DOT which accounted to a years worth of study finding the bike lane to be successful in both cycling usage and traffic calming.
3) found to have a majority of popularity in a number of surveys including one lead by city council member Brad Lander.
4) held several community forums on the lane in which the publics opinions was asked for in order to make changes to the lane.
Now while the rest of the country sees the number of protected bicycle lanes doubled in 2012. (According to Streetsblog.net)
Here in NYC, it’s business as usual…make change and then let influential rich people use political leverage and high priced lawyers to keep things the way they are…so it doesn’t inconvenience they’re parking with some pesky SAFE bike infrastructure.
So the plaintiffs used their big corporate lawyer Jim Walden to make a settlement which agrees to a new independent traffic study of Prospect Park West. Here’s the kicker, If the study proves traffic has not been improved by the protected bike lane…the lane must be removed. Ah progress.
Read more in this article in the New York Observer.
Crash, and Burn: City Dismisses Prospect Park West Bike Lane Foes’ Unusual Settlement Offer
By: Matt Chaban
December 21st, 2012
It is clear by now, if it has not always been, that the opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lane do not trust the city’s Department of Tranportation.
They have insisted the project was “trial” with virtually no proof that this was ever the city’s position. They have dismissed city-run studies of traffic data that show the lane has improved traffic flows and reduced injuries. And they have sneered at the considerable majority of their neighbors who have voted time and again in favor of the project. Still, the efforts of Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes persist, especially now that their lawsuit against the lane has been returned to court on a technicality. The group’s response has been to offer the city a settlement that essentially amounts to little more than a barroom dare.
Judging by the reader comments of articles published on this subject it seems as if it is once again bringing out hatred towards Mayor Bloomberg and the nerve of him to do things that are healthy for New Yorkers and the planet.
In an age of hot temperatures, stalled climate talks and catastrophic hurricanes its great to see progress made by a bike lane and then attempted to be reversed by a few rich neighbors.