NBC News video
Tour de France soap opera
May 18: NBC's Peter Alexander reports on the high-profile hearing between champion cyclists Floyd Landis and Greg LeMond.
MALIBU, Calif. - Floyd Landis’ sleepy, scientific arbitration hearing morphed into a pulp-fiction blockbuster Thursday, replete with revelations of sexual abuse, allegations of threatening phone calls and even a Donald Trump-style firing.
It came courtesy of Landis’ fellow American Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, who disclosed he had been sexually abused as a child and received a call Wednesday from Landis’ manager who threatened to reveal the secret if LeMond showed up to testify.
Shortly after LeMond dropped those bombshells, the manager, Will Geoghegan, walked up to LeMond, apologized and admitted he made the call, LeMond said. Which led to “You’re fired” — the message Landis attorney Maurice Suh gave to Geoghegan while they were still standing in the hearing room.
“It was a real threat, it was real creepy, and I think it shows the extent of who it is,” LeMond said before leaving the Pepperdine law school after his spellbinding day. “I think there’s another side of Floyd that the public hasn’t seen.”
On Friday morning, Geoghegan released a public statement apologizing.
“I have been very angry about how unfair this whole proceeding is to Floyd, a great friend and a greater champion, and stupidly tried to take out my anger on Greg,” Geoghegan said. “I acted on my own, impulsively, after a beer or two. I never thought about keeping Greg from testifying.”
Landis, ditching his yellow tie for a black one he wore to symbolize his feelings of animosity toward LeMond, sat stoically as he watched the three-time champion wreck his day. Landis is not allowed to comment during the hearing.
Making it worse for last year’s Tour de France champion was that the cross-examination of LeMond, designed to expose his motives and impeach his credibility, was called off because LeMond refused to answer questions about Lance Armstrong.
“I just have to say, again, this is completely unfair,” Landis attorney Howard Jacobs said.
He wanted to ask LeMond about suggestions he has made in the past that Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, might have doped.
But LeMond didn’t think that was the main point.
“I think they didn’t want me coming here today,” LeMond said. “I don’t know why. If you didn’t do anything wrong, why would you mind me coming here today?”
Before LeMond received the threatening call from Geoghegan, his testimony was supposed to be about conversations he had with Landis shortly after news of his positive “A” urine sample had been leaked to the press.
LeMond said he urged Landis to come clean if, in fact, his backup “B” sample also came back tainted.
He said he encouraged Landis to help his sport and “more importantly, help himself.”
He said he used the story of his being sexually abused when he was 6 as an example of how it’s good to get things out in the open.
“It nearly destroyed me by keeping the secret,” LeMond said.
He said he told Landis that very few people knew that about him, then revealed that someone in the Landis camp tried to use that information to intimidate him.
Watching Rafa Nadal churn his way through the claycourt season over the past few weeks, it seems nothing much has changed since his French Open triumph a year ago despite a lengthy injury layoff.
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) - A Nepalese official says five climbers are missing and feared dead on the world's third highest mountain.
The WWE has asked to collaborate with the NFL by sending any players their way that is willing to wrestle after their football career has concluded. As an avid wrestling fan, Michelle Beadle is all for the potential partnership and runs through a few potential candidates that’d be good in the wrestling world.
The Week in Sports Pictures
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
When athletes and celebs get together
A look at the many links between sports and Hollywood stars.