Floyd Landis’ hip replacement

September 30, 2006

We all know by now that Floyd Landis’ surgery was reported as successful. I did notice that he chose to undergo a different procedure, femoral head resurfacing. I thought that was an interesting choice as this is not the traditional total hip replacement. This procedure has the advantage of being minimally invasive (smaller incision). The downside is that long term outcomes of this type of procedure are not as well known.

MAJOR DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor much less an orthopaedic surgeon. I did not even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Therefore I should not be thought of as an expert on anything (except beer).

Looking through the literature on published studies that may give insight into what Floyd can expect, there is one study from the Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research that looks at this. The abstract can be viewed on the National Institutes of Health website.

One reason, I suspect, that data is not as available is that payers may not be inclined to pay for this surgery over total hip replacement because they do not want to pay for the same surgery twice. Once for the resurfacing and then again when/if the femoral neck breaks. Bone breaks. titanium does not.

Another thought when reading this. First, an athlete in supreme physicial condition should have better outcomes. Second, current outcomes measurements do not apply to Floyd. For example, does returning to normal life mean racing at a high level?

Editors Note: My apologies. I accidentally deleted the original post when I came back to edit it to add some interesting postulations on outcomes and the world class athlete. It is being dubbed “The Lance Armstrong effect.” I’ll get to that at a later time since I used my time this morning recreating the post. Unfortunately, the comments are gone. Again, I’m sorry. Off to soccer and lacrosse!


Within the perfect storm, T-Mobile

September 29, 2006

I have really been concerned about the future of sponsorship in our sport. I have been wondering if we are in the middle of the perfect storm that may create serious problems in getting and maintaining sponsorships.

  • The ProTour has forced teams to dramatically up their budgets, thus limiting the number of companies able to foot the bill
  • Operation Puerto is giving current sponsors the kind of publicity they never anticipated
  • Floyd Landis
  • The retirement of Lance Armstrong has TV ratings significantly lower in the US and abroad.

Within this maelstrom lies T-Mobile. If any sponsor wanted out, no one would fault T-Mobile. It has been “all in” around Jan Ullrich and it seems that the bet has been lost.

That puts this quote in greater context.

“After 15 years of involvement with the sport, you don’t just throw your sponsorship away. We, as the management of T-Mobile Corporation, believe in cycling and we believe in the image of clean cycling.”

T-Mobile is really making a go of this. To prove this, it has extended its sponsorship agreement another two years, It has have replaced the entire management team, 11 riders, and even Catherine Zeta-Jones. Sorry, I have a problem with the last one. Maybe they got a little carried away in their sacking.

Sponsorship is our life blood. Our sport is not played in stadiums or any place where you would have to pay to attend. TV money tends to go to the organizer. Therefore the money in the sport is all on the sponsor’s back. For the first time in my life, I may be pulling for the boys in magenta (don’t say pink).


We made the big time! Well, sort of.

September 28, 2006

The New York Times published a piece focusing on people who blog about work. The article highlights a cycling blog from Tim Jackson, a manager for Masi Bicycles in Vista, Calif. Tim writes a blog http://masiguy.blogspot.com/ where he talks about everything, including recent controversial topics.

The article is called Blogging the Hand that Feeds You. A free signup may be required.

Thanks to my buddy Wade for pointing this out to me.


Cycling meets YouTube

September 27, 2006

Yesterday, I offered the idea to begin a grass roots campaign to take the allure of cycling to a broader audience. The method I suggested was through the emerging medium. I did some research on online video sites to learn how we can do what they do. How do we create something that others (non-cyclists) would watch?

Sites like Will Video for Food give insight and even step by step instructions on how to create a product, where to post it, and how to direct traffic to your creation.

Well, we have an early entry into the fray. The Nashville Cyclist has begun a video blog on YouTube starting today. His initial posts are fairly straight forward interviews. It’s a good start, we need to join him. The fall is promising some good weather and many year-end centuries, club races, and charity events are still in front of us.

Let’s start the campaign to get people to fall in love with their bikes again!


Operation Basso

September 27, 2006

The Ivan Basso issue may very turn out to be bigger and messier than Floyd Landis. Floyd is a one-off case. If he wins, then the WADA and the UCI can try to do damage control by pointing at the USADA as a political body that ended up protecting its own. One lost battle in the overall war.

Now, to Ivan. If the UCI and WADA lose this battle, it will be akin to losing the battle of Normandy. The beginning of the end. This one could swing the tide in the Operation Puerto offensive. A quick recap. A pile of evidence was found in Dr Fuentes office including blood, drugs, and detailed notes for a rider ‘Birillo.’ Spanish authorities deduced that this was the codename for Ivan Basso. The name ‘Birillo’ also happened to be the name of Basso’s dog.

I have to tell you I don’t know how popular the name Birillo is among Italian dogs. Our dog is named Buddy which would not be enough to convict me as Buddy is a common name. I do know through some searching that Birillo is a very popular TV cartoon in Italy so there may be some problem here.

Next, Basso’s lawyers stonewalled the DNA testing that would prove once and for all if Ivan was ‘Birillo.’ It seemed that 99.9% was not good enough for Basso’s lawyers to accept the test as definitive. Citing ethics and scruples, the UCI declined using samples of Basso’s blood taken for drug testing purposes as a source of DNA.

So the case, like all cases went to the home country of the athlete. The Italian National Federation did not believe it had enough hard evidence to pursue a case against Basso.

“There is no real proof against Basso. I have seen the dossier that has been sent from Spain, and the only link to Basso is when his name comes up in a telephone conversation,” Silvio Martinello, the technical director for the Italian National Federation said on Sunday.

The next step is the Italian Olympic Committee. The pressure is mounting. Similar to the political pressure for the USADA to move the Floyd Landis case forward, the UCI and WADA are pressuring the Italian Olympic Committee to take action. We will know Friday.

Well, Pat McQuaid is going to the CAS if he loses Friday. By then, that will be an uphill fight. If that goes poorly, a domino of events may take place.

  • The Basso case is dropped
  • Other cases fall off due to lack of hard evidence
  • Riders begin to unite around the unfair treatment of the “trial by media” approach of the WADA and UCI
  • Momentum begins to swing their way as popular riders’ tifosi begin to take up the fight.
  • Operation Puerto becomes an embarrassment of the WADA and UCI. It dies a slow and quiet death.

If this happens, will this be the end of Dick Pound? How about Pat McQuaid. Will drug testing take a step backward? What about “Rider 4142?” Will that case go forward against Tyler Hamilton?

This is a case to watch closely. Ivan Basso’s case may have far reaching ripples through the cycling world. This is how trial by media can backfire.

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As this all plays out, there may still be some skirmishes the UCI and WADA win. For example, I think Jan Ullrich is toast. The overall tide against the current regime may change.

Stay tuned.


How can we get more people interested in cycling?

September 26, 2006

In the mainstream media nowadays, the word doping is now autofilled after cycling. Not good from a PR standpoint. I also know that if I can spend a few minutes with a person, I can generally impart a little appreciation for the nuances of the sport to get them to watch a little.

How do we tap into the primal love of the bike? How can we get people to understand the beauty of an echelon? Know how bad it is to when you first start to lose a wheel going up hill? Most professional riders have given up laptops for major races. That has removed one avenue. If you have been reading from the beginning, you know I have been looking to exploit the video phenomenon to show off the good side of the sport. Some of the riders who dropped the laptop and picked up a camera. The Broadband Racer is trying to show those videos. VeloNews is also trying to get into the action. But that is talking to ourselves. How do we get on YouTube? There has to be a way to use this medium to reach a new audience.

I have been following some of the key video blog sites and recently have seen a couple of posts on one of the leading video sites Will Video for Food. In fact, I convinced the owner to write a blog on cycling videos. The writer is a prolific blogger who has been invited to industry gatherings to speak on the booming market for online videos. He also has consulted to fledgling online video sites such as Revver.
Recently, he posted on the do’s and dont’s of online videos. Here are some:

Here is my challange. Stop by Will Video For Food. Read up on how to do it right. I know it is a new world but we need to break out of our shell. Take your camera out. Video the purest part of our sport. Take people beyond the headlines of Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.

Post and spread the word. What do you say?


Did you notice?

September 25, 2006

With the Floyd Landis watch in full swing, an important date came and went. Have you guessed yet? Well here it is. Tyler Hamilton’s ban ended on Friday September 22nd. Tyler had stated all along that he wanted to enter the World Championships Road Race on Sunday but he was quietly told by USA cycling that given the recent Operation Puerto cloud, he is persona non grata in the pro peloton. He needs to wait it out on the sidelines with Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, and the others who have been suspended by their respective teams.

So, now what? well, according to a quote in Velonews. USA Cycling spokesman Andy Lee states

“He can race in USA Cycling-sanctioned events as of tomorrow, until USADA makes some sort of finding in the Puerto case, he can resume racing in the meantime.”

Right now, Tyler has no contract. He does, however have a standing offer to race in Nashville. Thanks Nashville Cyclist.