Pat McQuaid - Bounty Hunter
McQuaid is in the States on "vacation" - but is that the only reason?
Other than teams folding the other big news is the ongoing doping dramas that continue to drag. And we have quite a few to choose from. There are two riders from Canada that were recently popped. We had Joe Papp, the man who many consider Ground-Zero for doping, handed an eight-year suspension (reduced for his cooperation). Papp is thought to be the one who implicated French rider Jeannie Longo, as well as a few American riders. It turns out while he was giving testimony at the Floyd Landis doping case back in 2007, Papp was still peddling it to fellow bike riders. But hey, a guy still has to make a living, right?
2007 is ancient history, but going back even further in the annals of cycling history is 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich. Remember him? Like a rash that won't go away, Ullrich's doping case has been dragged out since 2006 and once again the Court of Arbitration for Sport has delayed making a ruling until November 30th. For those keeping score at home, that's five years we've been waiting for a conclusion regarding the German's involvement in Operation Puerto!
Speaking of the slow wheels of justice being turned - there was quite the media splash about Floyd Landis' computer hacking case finally seeing the light of day. French authorities are accusing Landis of hiring a hacking hit squad to infiltrate the Chatenay-Malabry lab where the drug testing took place. In a letter to judge Isabelle Prevost-Desprez, who is presiding over his case, Landis wrote, "Several years ago, during the case against me for doping in the 2006 Tour de France, I received a package from an anonymous sender containing what appeared to be documents from the LNDD lab. To this day I do not know who mailed them, how they were acquired, or why." He goes on to state, "At no time did I commission a person or organization to acquire through devious means or, or for that matter any other means, anything from the LNDD lab or anyone else."
To make this all the more interesting Landis claims that he has never been officially summoned by French authorities.
"I have never been contacted by your court or any other French court to notify me of what are the charges or for any other reason."
We know that Floyd is here in the States. I also know that Jan Ullrich will also be in the States shortly to participate in a Miami gran fondo. My sources also say that UCI president Pat McQuaid is Stateside on "vacation." Coincidence? I think not.
There can be only one reason that McQuaid is lurking around these United States - he's had enough of the slow European style of justice and he's here to enact his own "street justice." I can see the portly Irishman holed up in a hotel room right now surrounded by fellow UCI officials who have had enough and are plotting their next move. I know a little something about stalking human prey and the smart money is that the UCI hit squad is going to meter out justice to Ullrich first. Why you ask. It's quite simple - they know where he's going to be.
November 20th is when the Miami gran fondo ride goes down. McQuaid and his "UCI Justice League" (my nick-name, not theirs) have undoubtedly had the German under surveillance and scoped out the host hotel. As anyone who has watched the CSI programs, you know that hotels are littered with cameras monitoring everyone's move. The same goes for hotel rooms, making a smash and grab while he's sleeping unnecessarily complicated. I have to think the best plan of attack would be McQuaid renting a van in an assumed name with forged IDs (don't tell me he doesn't know people who could make that happen for him) and as Ullrich rolls out for a pre-fondo ride the van pulls up along side him, the siding door is opened and before you can say "schnitzel" he's grabbed off his bike with a hood quickly dropped onto his head. The only evidence left behind is a carbon bike laying on the road, which - no offense to Miami - will be quickly stolen, thereby eliminating any physical evidence. From there I'm not sure if Ullrich would be spirited away to a secret UCI prison tucked deep in the Alps or would just disappear into the Florida everglades.
Finding Floyd Landis would be trickier for McQuaid. Landis is wily. It has been reported that he lives in a shack behind a car wash somewhere in the mountains of Riverside County, California. Like the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot, people have sworn they've seen him in various parts of the U.S. In fact sketchy out of focus photographs suggest he was in New York City. I've even heard rumors that the former pro has joined the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Who really knows? What we do know is that McQuaid wants to mount Landis' head on the wall in the UCI VIP room.
Finding Landis is impossible, much like trying to nail Jello to a wall - it will just slide away. He was invited to France to defend himself against the computer hacking charges and was promised that he could leave after doing so - but Landis declined. I'm not sure what you would do, but let me give some free legal advice - if authorities tell you they "just want to talk" they don't. Your jail cell has already been assigned and they're just waiting for you to show up.
Instead McQuaid needs to make Landis come to him. If I were McQuaid I'd bait a trap for the former 2006 Tour winner. He has often told me that he likes money. Perhaps an e-mail saying that the UCI finally got around to sorting out the whole Mercury-Viatel team disaster from 2001. When the squad imploded, riders were not paid leaving Landis and even current RadioShack rider Chris Horner, in the lurch for thousands of dollars. McQuaid should send Floyd an email claiming he can pick up the money at a hotel room that the UCI Justice League has already scouted out. When he arrives it's time to go "shock and awe" with taser guns up and at the ready. It's a risky operation and sure to have some casualties, but I see no other way to bring down Landis.
Of course this is all hypothetical on my part. I'm sure McQuaid is in America to check out Disney World, perhaps catch a Broadway play or maybe he has pulled a few strings and got tickets to the World Series. Yeah, I don't think so either. McQuaid has gone "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and is on the prowl. Lock your doors America...