Wooden head on door, I think on the rue de la Notre Dame des Champs.
Statue of General Joffre, in front of the École Militaire. He faces down the length of the Champ de
Mars, gesturing toward the Eiffel
La Coupole, a famous, big and elegant brasserie/restaurant
on the boulevard Montparnasse. This is one of four brasseries Hemingway and
Fitzgerald liked to go to. Le Select, across the street from La Coupole, was
Hemingway’s favorite. I took this
photo as we were having a coffee outside at Le Select. Later, after walking for a while, we went
back to Le Select to have lunch. We
each had a croque monsieur on “pain Poilane,” which turned out to be a long,
oval slice of very, very good bread.
The gruyere on the croque was excellent. The croque came with a green salad, making
it an ample lunch, for only 8 euros.
I believe Floyd
Landis is innocent of doping charges.
The following article from the International Herald Tribune explains why.
if Floyd Landis were innocent?
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2006
We all have every reason to believe that the American cyclist
Floyd Landis cheated to win this year's Tour de France. Not only have his
tests come up positive for high testosterone ratios, but damning evidence of
exogenous, or synthetic, testosterone has been found as well.
All this comes on top of a never-ending series of
massive doping scandals that have blackened the sport. Landis represents the
10th positive doping case in the past three years for his Phonak team, which
this week was forced to disband for lack of sponsorship.
Landis's flailing public relations efforts, consisting
of ever-changing feeble excuses, have turned him into an international
laughing stock. Add the fact that his positive test came after a ride dubbed
"improbable " by many, on the Tour's 17th stage, which had
televison commentators (including me) gushing about "the greatest
performance ever" and the entire episode seems neatly done up as the
story of a desperate man in a dirty sport who reached too far.
Yet I believe that Floyd Landis is innocent and that we
are witnessing a terrible injustice. I've lived this sport for 35 years and
know the European professional cycling circuit intimately, and I feel
strongly that in this case something is wrong.
The credibility of the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory that
analyzed both of Landis's tests has been question. In 2005, the president of
the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations called for the
investigation and suspension of the lab after it was involved in the leaking
of Lance Armstrong's (and only Armstrong's) results from experimental testing
done on frozen 1999 Tour samples.
When Pat McQuaid, president of the International
Cycling Union, explained why the union leaked the initial news of Landis's
positive test, he said, "We know that the French laboratory has a close
connection with L'Equipe" - France's leading sports newspaper -
"and we did not want this news to come through the press, because we are
sure they would have leaked it." Labs are not supposed to be able to
identify samples or leak information. This is a fundamental principle of
ethical scientific testing.
Whenever an athlete tests positive for banned drugs,
you look to see who is close to them. Landis's trainer, Dr. Allen Lim, an
exercise physiologist from Colorado,
is an expert in the use of power meters, devices that attach to racing
bicycles and measure power output. According to Lim, the
"improbable" stage 17 victory on July 20 was a triumph of strategy,
science and Landis's vitality. Landis averaged 280 watts over the five hours
of the ride, but he has averaged 320 for six hours in training - documented
proof, according to Lim, that the performance was well within Landis's
The real trick on the day was the 55 bottles of cold
water in the team car. Landis, alone in front as planned for easy access to
them, continuously poured them over his head and body, keeping him in a
"thermoneutral" state. Behind, the chasers, with less access to
liquids, raced with core body temperatures reflecting the day's scorching
Cycling is not by any means unique in suffering from
major doping problems. But not every athlete cheats, and many are clean.
Landis had an ironclad reputation in the racing world as a clean rider.
If Lim and Landis were going to cross over to the dark
side, testosterone would not be their bridge. There are many more effective
means to cheat. Testosterone has limited effect, and in any case must be used
in a cumulative manner; it is not a one-day wonder, like taking a shot of
amphetamines. So where was it in all the other tests?
It is also worth noting that the validity of current
testosterone testing methods is not universally accepted within the
scientific community. A similar testosterone doping case brought to the Court
of Arbitration for Sport was recently overturned.
Landis is either another sad example of a rider without
the will to escape the doping problems that cloud the sports world, or a man
who represents a new way, a belief that clean sport can triumph, who has
nevertheless somehow run afoul of the system. Whichever is true, he has the
right to due process, which has so far been denied him because of all the
leaks and the resultant media firestorm.
Landis deserves a chance to clear himself. He had an
unblemished reputation, the laboratory that tested his samples has a credibility
problem, and the organizations put in place to ensure his rights to due
process have either attacked him or ignored him.
Floyd Landis won the Tour de France. Reserve judgment
until the facts are clear.
John Eustice is a sports commentator and
former professional bicycle racer.