Friday, May 18, 2007

Landis versus the world

Testifying in the fourth day of Landis’ Tour de France doping hearing at the Pepperdine University law school, Greg LeMond, a three-time winner of the Tour de France, disclosed that he’d been sexually abused as a child and that he received an intimidating phone call Wednesday night from Floyd Landis’ manager that referred to the abuse. LeMond said the call came at 6:53 p.m. Wednesday. The caller said, “Hi, Greg, this is your uncle,” adding a moment later, “I’ll be there tomorrow and we can talk about how we used to hide your weenie.” LeMond’s Verizon cellular phone recorded the number -- a number from the 949 area code that’s listed on a business card belonging to Will Geoghegan, Landis’ manager. Greg filed a police report about this incident.

The phone call was thought to be be an attempt to intimidate LeMond, who was to testify that Landis had admitted, in an indirect way that he was doped up during last year's Tour.

During that call, LeMond said, he shared with Landis a secret that he had been sexually abused as a child. LeMond said he shared his secret with Landis in the hope that doing so would encourage him to come forward with whatever secrets he might have.

“I was very clear that I did not judge if he did or didn’t [dope],” LeMond said, adding a moment later that he told Landis, “I don’t know if you did or didn’t but if you did you could single-handedly change the sport, you could salvage the sport. I would hope, I would encourage you, to come clean.”

“At this point,” LeMond said, recalling the telephone conversation, Landis said, “I don’t see what good it would do. If I did, it would destroy a lot of my friends and hurt a lot of people.”

This entire story is going from ridiculous to Mike Tyson ridiculous. As the hearing continues, I fully expect to see a dozen leprechauns ride into the courtroom on a unicorn testifying how they spiked Landis' drinks during the tour. If they can't clean up the sport they might as well even the field by putting engines on everyone's bikes and call it motocross.

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