Sunday, July 22, 2007

With Friends Like This Who Needs Enemies? UPDATE

Photo credit Patrik Sinkewitz

Folks, as you know we here at the Dougloid Papers follow the Tour de France with great interest. In the world of the spectacular, the French rarely disappoint but the Tour is in a class of its own.

There's nothing I like to watch on teevee more than a good hard slogfest in the mountains and today's climb to the plateau was no different. It delivered in spades.

Ever since I discovered the Tour (and believe me, when you say 'the Tour' there is and can be only one, the numero uno, the Big Enchilada)....where was I? Oh. I remember. I discovered the Tour back in the years when Greg Lemond was a power in pro cycling, and although I have never been any sort of jock, I do make exceptions for pro football and professional cycling.

Anyway, as everyone except three guys trapped in an ice cave in Antarctica have heard, the Tour would not be the Tour without a doping scandal or three. It has been recently stated by some publicity starved loser or other whose name I cannot remember that Mike Rasmussen, currently ahead on points in the Tour, tried to get him to transport doping products a few years ago. That's what we call hearsay in the legal trade, although it seems in the Emerald City of the sports anti doping boobocracy, the notion of due process takes a back seat to headline grabbing. The greatest exponent of this artform is the Montreal Mouth, a/k/a the aptly named Dick Pound, known for his credo of '1: guilty until 2: proven innocent. If 2, refer to 1."

That's been the Floyd Landis story, and I'm more convinced than ever that Floyd is a man who got tossed under the wheels to serve as a message to somebody about something or other. That doesn't even get to the possibility of sabotage, as among the mob of spectators slapping cyclists on the back on their way up a slope, a hand slathered with testosterone cream might well have been the culprit. Crowd control on the Tour is nonexistent, because it would of course be impossible.

However, in the cited article we've found something that underscores the conceptual differences between continental lawyers and common law lawyers.

Patrik Sinkewitz, pictured above, is a German cyclist who's in the same pickle that Floyd was in last year, but Sinkewitz's German lawyer Michael Lehner opines that any of his clients who are guilty ought to confess. With a lawyer like that, Sinkewitz could do better on his own, no need to spend a tin pfennig on that kind of 'service'. And why would anyone in his right mind hire this numbskull? To what end? Plead guilty and spare me the trouble? It's a disgrace to the profession and a disservice to the notion of zealous advocacy. With an attorney like this the outcome's pretty much a done deal.

Patrik, we here in the states may be a lot of things, some of which Europeans disagree with, but I am here to tell you in my line of work in my little corner of the world we fight for the people who entrust their lives and their fortunes to us, and if we don't have the stomach for it, we find other things to do. Just like you fight on the mean streets of the Tour, it's in our nature to go the distance. All of which is something that champions in the truest historical sense of the word understand but some folks quite plainly don't.

UPDATE Tuesday: Since we wrote this piece it was revealed in the Guardian that Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI which is the international cycling union and something of an important body said that it would be better if someone else were to win the Tour besides Michael Rasmussen, although since he hadn't broken any rules you have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Huh?! Does that sound as goofy to you as it does to me?


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