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The Case of the Missing Bikes

The Case of the Missing Bikes

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Published by Cycling Fan
Landis reveals how Team U.S Postal sold bikes to raise money for doping. This was Bruyneels' masterplan all along.

WSJ exclusive interview with Floyd Landis, Friday 02 July 2010
Landis reveals how Team U.S Postal sold bikes to raise money for doping. This was Bruyneels' masterplan all along.

WSJ exclusive interview with Floyd Landis, Friday 02 July 2010

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Cycling Fan on Jul 04, 2010
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The Case of the Missing Bikes - WSJ.



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JULY 3, 2010

The Case of the Missing Bikes

To Floyd Landis, one of the mysteries of his time with the U.S. Postal Service cycling team was why more new bikes weren't available for the riders. He eventually struck on one possible answer: the team was selling equipment to the public to raise cash. Blood Brothers
Cyclist Floyd Landis gives an exclusive tour through what he and others say is a culture of systematic doping in the sport. Blood Brothers: Spilling Cycling's Secrets Armstrong Addresses Latest Landis Allegations

In March 2004, during an eight-day race from Paris to Nice, Mr. Landis said he was in position to win the sixth stage when his bike frame snapped. He blamed the mishap on the bike's carbon frame, which, he said, had been weakened by wear and tear.

After the race, Mr. Landis recalled, he found Johan Bruyneel, the director of the U.S. Postal Service team, and told him he needed a brand-new bike. According to Mr. Landis, Mr. Bruyneel told him the team didn't have enough equipment to allow every rider to always have new bikes. Mr. Landis said he didn't believe Mr. Bruyneel. Some time after the race, he said, he placed a call to Scott Daubert, a representative from the team's official frame maker, Trek Bicycle Corp., and also to Wayne Stetina of the component manufacturer Shimano Inc., which supplied the team with things like pedals. In those conversations, Mr. Landis said, he learned the team was given enough frames and components to make about 120 bikes a year. After doing some rough calculations, he said, he determined the team was missing about 60 bikes. The Dark Side of Cycling A few weeks later, Mr. Landis said, he had dinner with Bart Knaggs of Capital Sports & Entertainment, the company that acts as an agent for lead U.S. Postal rider Lance Armstrong; Geert Duffeleer, the team's cook and a personal assistant to Mr. Bruyneel; and at least two other riders. At the dinner, Mr. Landis said, he told the group he had talked to the sponsors and believed at least 60 bikes were unaccounted for.
View Interactive

For Landis, a New Start

The next day, Mr. Landis said, he got a phone call from Mr. Bruyneel, who was angry that Mr. Landis had contacted the sponsors. According to Mr. Landis, Mr. Bruyneel told him that the money raised from equipment sales helped pay for doping.

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The Case of the Missing Bikes - WSJ.com


Messrs. Duffeleer, Knaggs and Bruyneel did not respond to messages seeking comment. David Clinger, another teammate of Mr. Landis's on the 2002 U.S. Postal team, said he had heard that team bikes were resold, although he didn't know what the money was used for. "They sell the bikes online," Mr. Clinger said. "They can get $10,000 or $20,000, if the bike was ridden by Lance."
View Slideshow Michal Czerwonka for The Wall Street Journal

Professional cyclist Floyd Landis talks on his cellphone at a bar in Idyllwild, Calif.

Cycling Snapshots

Mr. Clinger said that he once refused to use a bike for a race because he thought it was too worn out. He said he argued with a team mechanic until Mr. Bruyneel told the mechanic to give him a spare bike. According to Mr. Clinger, the mechanic told him the team had to sell these bikes at the end of the year, so was trying to keep them as clean as possible. Federal investigators have contacted one of the team's sponsors, Trek Bicycle Corp., and asked about the sale of bikes, according to a person familiar with the matter. Robert Burns, general counsel for Trek, said the company was aware that bikes meant for U.S. Postal riders were being sold, but said it didn't know what the money was used for. "Occasionally, you'd see a bike on the Internet somewhere where it would surprise us," said Mr. Burns, who recalled an instance where one of the team bikes was sold in a bike shop in Belgium. There wasn't much Trek could do to stop such sales. "Once that stuff goes to the director sportif and the mechanic of the team, it's in their possession," Mr. Burns said. He declined to comment about whether Trek had been contacted by investigators. About three years ago, Trek began writing into its contracts that the pro teams it sponsored had to pass the bike frames on to their junior teams. "We just got more specific about it," explained Mr. Burns. "We didn't want to see that stuff getting sold on the market. It should be going to a better use than that." A Shimano spokesman said the representative Mr. Landis said he called in 2004, Mr. Stetina, did not recall specific conversations about components. "Once teams get that equipment, obviously, it goes without saying the general intent is that it's used for training and racing," the spokesman said.

View Slideshow Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Take a look at snapshots from cyclist Floyd Landis's career.

Decades of Doping

View Interactive Branger/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

Henri Pelissier in the 1923 Tour de France.

Blood Brothers: Spilling Cycling's Secrets

Write to Reed Albergotti at reed.albergotti@wsj.com and Vanessa O'Connell at vanessa.o'connell@wsj.com

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