The news wasn’t surprising. The story in the Wall Street Journal spread like wildfire through the twitterverse. Also unsurprising was incendiary fuel of some big names to help fuel the flame. Floyd Landis is back in the news and this pro — and con — gives us reason again to take a look at the state of doping in our sport.
The issue with the revelations by Landis is that he is a con. He has lied before. What makes us think he won’t lie again? The “con” is that he is a con.
What if every allegation that he is making is true? Wow, that would turn the cycling world upside down. Then again… would it? Just because it might be true doesn’t mean it can be proven. Unless physical proof can be presented it is the word of a known liar – Landis – against Lance Armstrong and a host of other long-time professional athletes.
Hmmmm, wonder who will win that battle? Had Landis come forward back before he was caught and made these allegations, perhaps his revelations would carry more punch. As it is, he comes across as a sinking ship that is trying to throw anchor onto all the vessels around him for the sake of causing them to go down with him.
This whole business is a “con” for our sport. The loudest messengers calling for the sport to be cleaned up always seem to be the ones caught in the act. Don’t get me wrong… there are other voices, they just don’t end up in the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
All that said, it does keep the pressure on the dopers. There really isn’t anything we can do about 2002 – 2006. The focus needs to be on now and curtailing the doping that still continues in the ranks of professional cycling. If these emails by Landis help to keep the focus on finding those cheaters and putting a stop to their actions, then that is a painful but positive result.
Another positive is that at least now we can move on from Landis himself. I’ll admit, I had sympathy for the guy and deep inside I hoped that it was true that he didn’t dope — though reason told me otherwise. Yes, perhaps his allegations will open a whole new book of stories, but as for Landis himself, I’ve closed the book on him.
It leaves us to ask the question “Why?” Why did Landis come clean about his own use of performance enhancing drugs and methods? Why now? Are those questions even important?
The deeper question is “Why do these athletes do this?” The obvious answer is that they are seeking that competitive edge that will give them what they seek most – a place. I don’t think that it is so much that they do so to win. Many of the dopers never do. They are simply trying to stay in the game.
I can see how easy it could be. They are very disciplined and control so many aspects of their lives to make a go of it. The one thing they cannot control is the competition. When you are doing all you can to perform at your best and you are still struggling… the temptation is to look for that one extra boost.
Dopers are like politicians (my apologies to the dopers). So often before they are elected politicians will arrive in government with lofty ideals. Before long they are sucked into the feeding frenzy and belly up at the trough. Their only goal becomes getting reelected.
How do we put an end to this? Well, as much as we hate it, there must be testing. However, that won’t end it. The end of doping will have to take place within the peloton. The code needs to be turned on its head. Some other pro rather than a known con must take the first step to helping the peloton police itself.