Saturday May 22 2010
Rogers still in front as finale looms
By: BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer
Tour of California
LOS ANGELES — Floyd Landis emerged at the Tour of California time trial on Saturday and hung out in a sponsor’s tent days after accusing Lance Armstrong of doping. Landis didn’t speak to waiting reporters and sat with his back to the course much of the time. He was in the tent of Dr. Brent Kay, his longtime sponsor. Landis won the Tour of California in 2006, but his Bahati Foundation team wasn’t invited to ride this year. Earlier this week, Landis accused Armstrong of doping, teaching other riders to cheat and paying off a top cycling official after allegedly testing positive in 2002. Tony Martin of Germany won the windy seventh stage, a 21-mile individual time trial, in 41 minutes, 41 seconds. Teammate Michael Rogers of Australia finished second, but retained the overall lead by 9 seconds heading into today’s finale on a hilly circuit course in the Ventura County city of Thousand Oaks. “We will have to have our wits about us because the whole race is going to throw everything at us,” Rogers said of the final 84 miles. “A lot of people doubted us before the start of this stage and said we couldn’t do it. But we took one step closer.” American David Zabriskie of Garmin-Transitions, third in the time trial, is 9 seconds behind in second, followed by three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer of is 25 behind. Leipheimer finished fourth in the time trial, a stage the American had won the last three years. “The whole week I’ve been missing just that little bit extra. But maybe it was because it was a course better suited for (Zabriskie) and (Rogers),” Leipheimer said. “This one was maybe tough because those guys have a few extra pounds on me. It’s not wrestling, but in that sense, it’s the way it goes.” Landis, who this week confessed to doping throughout his career, has also apologized to three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond for an incident from a 2007 hearing where Landis tried to overturn the positive test result that cost him his Tour de France title. LeMond was set to testify about a phone conversation he’d had with Landis in which he said Landis tacitly admitted he doped. The night before LeMond was due to appear at the hearing, he received an anonymous call threatening to reveal that he had been sexually molested as a child, something he mentioned to Landis in 2006. The call was traced to Landis’ former manager. ESPN.com reported Saturday that Landis called LeMond to apologize on Friday. Four yellow-jacketed security guards stood outside the OUCH sports medical center tent next to the start-finish area at the Tour of California, closely checking credentials while Landis visited. As he moved around the tent to talk, the guards moved with him to block the angles of camera-pointing fans. They were joined by two private security guards. “Floyd, you suck,” a man shouted outside the tent. Landis showed no reaction as the guards warily eyed the bystander. After the time trial ended, more passing fans realized Landis was in the tent and crowded around the barricades to snap photos. “Did you get him?” a woman frantically asked her male companion. “Did you get Floyd Landis?” “Yeah,” he replied, showing her the image on his digital camera. Landis appeared oblivious to the commotion, glancing out at the crowd occasionally. He fixed himself a plate of coleslaw and a sandwich, then ate while watching Leipheimer breeze across the finish line. The riders completed two laps of a 10½-mile circuit through the streets of downtown Los Angeles that took them by the University of Southern California and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. They made two short, steep climbs while passing the shimmering Walt Disney Concert Hall and City Hall before returning to the start-finish line outside of Staples Center. Not long after the racing ended, Landis suddenly exited the tent street-side, walking quickly ahead of chasing reporters. He didn’t speak before climbing into the passenger side of a waiting car that drove away.