Landis:
the reaction.
Upon being pinned for a positive drug
test, it’s de rigueur to deny it. You never know: maybe by some miracle the
second test will come back negative, despite the rarity of that happening. Landis is
not confident the second test will clear him, telling Sports Illustrated he’s “not hopeful” of a different result. Thus
far, family and friends are sticking by him, but people outside the cyclist’s immediate circle have not
reacted with such generosity. “We barely got to know Floyd Landis – barely got
to celebrate his stunning Tour de France triumph – before he was plugged in
alongside the rest of the sketchy characters in sports’ alleged doper line-up,”
writes ESPN’s Pat Forde.
But if it counts for anything, the man who stands to become the new winner of
the 2007 Tour de France isn’t overly thrilled by the prospect. “Should I win
the Tour now it would feel like an academic victory,” Oscar Pereiro told AP.
“The way to celebrate a win is in Paris, otherwise it’s just a bureaucratic win
… I’m not going to celebrate anything. I have too much respect for Landis to do
otherwise.”

Matildas
headed to the World Cup.
Australian soccer
continues its blockbuster year with the Matildas, the Australian national
women’s team, yesterday beating Japan to book their spot in the 2007 FIFA
Women’s Cup. More immediately, the win places them in the Asian Cup final on Sunday
in Adelaide, making the Matildas the first Australian team to qualify for the
World Cup through Asia. “They have just been absolutely sensational, they were
magnificent out on the field tonight – they way they defended, the way they played
they were just outstanding,” coach Tom Sermanni said after the game. The
Matildas took the lead in the ninth minute when striker Caitlin Munoz found the
net. The sealer came in the 46th minute courtesy of Joanne Peters after the
Japanese goalkeeper fumbled a cross. Their opponents on Sunday, China, had a
more controversial journey into the final, with ugly scenes marring their
semi-final against North Korea. With seconds left on the clock, the North
Koreans had a match-levelling goal disallowed, sparking fury both on the field
and off. “Then we saw spectators and players throwing bottles at each other and
the classic sight of the goal keeper from the North Korean team running in
towards the tunnel as the referee was escorted off and trying to karate kick
one of the match officials, which was not a good sight,” reported the ABC’s John Thompson
Mills.

Powell and Gatlin kept apart by
injury.
Athletics fans are going to have to wait, perhaps until next
season, for the showdown in the 100 metres between co-world record holders
Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin. The pair were due to race in June, but Gatlin
withdrew controversially from the event citing the potential for bad weather. A
meeting set to take place this weekend at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in
London has also been scuttled, with Gatlin withdrawing after suffering an
injury behind his knee. The race doesn’t hold happy memories for Powell, who
withdrew 20 metres into last year’s race after injuring his groin: Gatlin went
on to win the event in 9.89 seconds, a record for the track. Even though Powell
will not face his chief rival, the Independentreports Powell
will still have to be on his game. “Powell will still face a formidable field
which includes the world silver medallist Michael Frater, Olympic silver
medallist Francis Obikwelu and Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford,” writes
Mike Rowbottom. With many predicting it’s only a matter of time before Powell
breaks the record again, Rowbottom then added: “But his main race still appears
likely to be against the clock.”

Peter Fray

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