Michael Rogers, the Australian HTC-Columbia pro who won the Amgen Tour of California which finished yesterday has reacted angrily to the dark cloud cast by the 'Landisgate' affair.
As we reported last week, while America's top pro race was at full speed, the disgraced Tour de France winner Floyd Landis went public with a series of emails explicitly naming Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer,George Hincapie and others in the old US Postal team as being involved, along with himself, in blood doping and taking various Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).
According to today's New York Times Michael Rogers, who had just successfuly completed the eight-day tour after a particularly tense final stage during which both Levi Leipheimer, the previous winner on three occassions and Dave Zabriskie, the two-time runner-up, desparately attempted to claw back the handful of seconds they needed, said, “There’s so many great performances and I just hope that people see those things. The sport has got to get away from negativity."
Bob Stapleton, the owner of the HTC-Columbia team said, “It’s great that we’ve been so successful here, but it’s unfortunate that this scandal took over this really tremendous event. What people should focus on is the fundamental beauty of this sport that has been lost by a bitter past.”
Over the weekend, theories about Landis' motivation and possible outcomes were buzzing on the internet and things got very exciting when he appeared at one of the VIP tents alongside the Los Angeles time trial stage of the Tour of California on Saturday.
There was a lot of awkward standing around and pointedly not paying attention to the racing but after initial hopes that there would be some sort of statement, he was whisked away with, reportedly, one solitary heckler shouting abuse after him.
This one will run and run but the latest state of play is that a Federal investigator Jeff Novitzky working for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and with a backround in busting drugs in sport, has been appointed to investigate.