By Mike Schiavo,
Cycling News Special Report
JAVA SHACK (Arlington, VA) – The final results of the Tour de Frolorado were thrown into chaos today when the unorthodox training methods of GC winner Taxman were unearthed by a team of Cycling News investigative reporters.
After a thorough examination of the winner’s training records, our reporters unearthed an unusually high running/cycling ratio in the Taxman’s training logs. If verified by the French Agency for Ridiculous Testing (FART), Taxman could be stripped of his title, fired from his team, and miss out on tens of dollars in endorsement money that he would have earned as the TdF champion.
“We were as surprised as anybody,” lead reporter Bob Roll stated. “While we certainly knew about his 8-week off-the-bike taper program, intensive TV-watching, and strict dietary regimen of beer, pizza, cheeseburgers and chocolate chip cookies, the ratio of running miles to cycling miles came as a complete shock.”
“Running is natural for me,” Taxman said in a phone interview from his home in Arlington. “I’m not doing anything illegal, and I’m certainly not trying to hide anything. I intend to defend myself fully from these ridiculous charges.”
“He’s done if it’s true,” team captain Weasel said. “Cycling doesn’t need this, Lanterne Rouge doesn’t need this, and the Tour de Frolorado definitely doesn’t need this.”
FART, the international authority on the running/cycling test, has a well-established acceptable ratio of 1%, or one mile of running for every 100 miles of cycling. Hard-core cyclists are routinely tested and usually have no trouble falling within this guideline.
Dick “Dick” Pound, head of FART, explained: “We understand and accept that cyclists have to do a certain amount of running in their everyday lives. Sometimes you just can’t help running across the room to answer the phone, running after your kids, running errands, or even running up a tab. It’s unavoidable. But to run for exercise? On purpose? Cycling will just not tolerate that.”
The current controversy centers on the period May 29 – July 31, 2006, a time during which Taxman was supposedly recovering from a fractured shoulder. The stunning revelation is that during this time, his training log includes only a handful of entries for cycling, but as many as three entries per week for jogging and/or running.
In fact, for three of the weeks in question, our reporters were unable to calculate the ratio because Taxman logged zero cycling miles. “The numbers don’t lie,” Roll said. “We checked and re-checked the data, but you just can’t divide by zero.”
At the time of this posting, the effect on the final results of the TdF is unclear. What is certain, however, is that Taxman is planning a vigorous defense, starting with this sternly-worded statement by his agent Justin Gatlin: “This is sabotage, pure and simple. Somebody gained access to his training logs without his knowledge and added fictitious running entries. As for his alleged recent purchase at Metro Run and Walk, somebody obviously stole his identity and treated themselves to new running shoes. Come on, they don’t even make his favorite running shoe anymore…um, I mean…it’s sabotage, OK!!!” When asked about the equipment bag confiscated from Taxman’s car, a bag that contained running shoes, shorts and a running watch, Gatlin had no comment.
The uneasy relationship between running and cycling is not new. Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong cut his competitive teeth in triathlon, an event that involves running, cycling, and swimming. (“At least nobody’s accusing him of swimming,” Taxman’s mother chimed in from Florida.) Now that Armstrong is retired from the pro peloton he is training for the New York marathon. “Old habits die hard,” Armstrong said. “As I have said time and time again, however, during my career as a professional cyclist, I never tested positive for an unusual running/cycling ratio.”
(Editor’s note: the “Tour de France” is a three-week bicycling race that many riders use as a warmup for the Tour de Frolorado.)