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  • Tour de France Update #7 – Floyd Landis, Go Screw Yourself

       August 07, 2006

    Eddy Merckx famously uttered the same phrase to his director while winning the Tour of Flanders one year, and it’s just as appropriate to say to Floyd Landis today. I just want to write a post expressing my disgust with Floyd and the process and say what I think should be done. As you all know by now the B sample for Landis’ positive testosterone test also came back positive, confirming an excessively high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone and the presence of synthetic testosterone in his body. Now begins a several month process where Floyd and his lawyers will drag cycling through the mud for their own self interest. We have already seen the ridiculously impossible excuses offered. Next we will see the ridiculously improbable excuses offered “I got it from a toilet seat” or “I shook hands with Barry Bonds”. After that the testing methods, always cited by athletes as proof that they don’t dope when they come back negative, will be declared unscientific and unproven. After that the Laboratory, the Tour, the directors themselves and all the organizations involved will be slandered for reasons unrelated to the positive test in an effort to divert attention from the positive test results. Finally, the whole thing will be blamed on a massive conspiracy by “the French”. We’ve been down this road before.

    The fact of the matter is you tested positive Floyd. Twice. You tested positive because you took enough synthetic testosterone to kill an elephant. You said yourself that you won the Tour because you were the strongest (that may be true, but we’ll never know), and now you will lose the Tour because you were the dirtiest. You cheated because you wanted to win and didn’t think you could win without cheating. You cheated because you didn’t think you would be caught. The reason you won’t come clean is that you would then have to answer the unpleasant questions dealing with when you started doping, who your sources are and who helped you. For cycling’s sake, I hope you lose the title, get the two year ban and are banned from the Tour for life. Unfortunately, you represent only part of the doping problem.

    As to Floyd’s fans, you can screw yourselves too. Floyd’s cheating is only 1/3 of the doping problem. The next 1/3 of the problem are fans and the MSM willing to listen to any half assed excuse by dopers instead of to reason and scientific results. Why shouldn’t I cheat when I know fully well an army of idiots will believe me? The media are finally catching on, and I hope the fans will follow. Doping athletes must wake up everyday, give thanks to God and have a long hard laugh at how stupid their fans are. Face it, Landis cheated and got caught.

    The final 1/3 of the problem is the idiotic process by which athletes caught cheating in a sporting event are treated as if a criminal trial is underway. The tests were performed and the results are conclusive. The appeal process was the B sample analysis. Any further appeal is nonsense. This business of lawyers being involved in sports has got to stop now. Athletes + Lawyers + a game = sports entertainment. I don’t want the Tour to turn into sports entertainment.

    For the Tour organizers, you took more shots to the head this year than you could imagine and you’re on the ropes, but you’re still standing. For the sports sake, please recognize that you control the biggest race of the year, bigger than all the others combined. Recognize that if you put your foot down you will get your way. Don’t back off on Landis. Take away his title and let it be known that any team that hires him will find itself uninvited to the Tour in the future. Furthermore, let it be known that that is the policy from now on. You will always have cheats because of the money and fame, but you don’t have to handle them with kid gloves.

    Second, divest yourself of the UCI with respect to anything involving performance enhancing drugs. The UCI is fine for determining bike specs and what to do if the peloton encounters a train at a railroad crossing, but they are an impediment to stopping doping. What you need to do is adopt your own code and standards. Tell the teams and riders that these are the standards, these are the testing methods and these are the labs that will be doing the testing. If you test positive, your B sample will be tested and if it is positive, you, and your team, are gone from the Tour forever. Make every rider and team signs a statement acknowledging the rules and if they won’t do it tell them they can spend July at Superweek. No appeal beyond the B sample, no challenging of the test method (you already agreed to it) no slandering of the entire nation of France. Let the WADA, UCI and the various national organizations do what they want. The Tour, however, is your race and you are free to develop whatever standards you see fit.

    Next, take action against team directors. Too many dopers are coming from the same teams. I applaud T-Mobile’s efforts to fix their problems but the problem is much deeper. When riders test positive, there needs to be action taken against their directors and teams, otherwise they will simply find someone to replace them.

    Finally, take action against the Dr. Ferrari’s of the world. Amend your standards to make contact with such people unsporting. Sure it’s arbitrary and draconian, but so what? These people are threatening the sport and your race; fight back.

    For American cycling, its time we take a long look at what we’ve developed. Four of the biggest doping scandals of the last few years have been Landis, Tyler Hamilton, Roberto Heras and the ongoing Lance Armstrong opera. The common thread here is the former US Postal team. It’s time to acknowledge that American cycling may not be the best but instead the dirtiest in the world. We may be to professional cycling what the East German "women’s" teams were to 1970’s Olympics.

    Read the rest of our Tour coverage.

    Posted by BVBigBro at August 7, 2006 10:24 AM

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    #  August 7th, 2006 11:50 AM      james
    i don't think his guilt has been proven. the B sample confirmed that the results from the A test weren't the result of lab error. yes, it looks bad for him. but you still have chain-of-custody issues.

    what i can't fathom is -- why would he take the testosterone if he knew he would be tested? that doesn't make any sense. for that reason, i don't think it's entirely improbable that this is a set-up of some sort.

    this process has been played out in the media when it should have been hashed out before anything was released to the public. the media was quick to condemn landis, because in this age of steroid scandals and dan rather losing his job for standing by his sources, no one wants to give the impression that they're somehow biased.

    landis's lawyers gave him some terrible advice when they had him read both of the preprepared statements. they tried to "get out in front" of the story, and did it all the wrong ways.

    no, it doesn't look good for landis. but i still have to think -- why would he take the drugs, knowing he would be tested? why would he win that crazy comeback stage when he could have finished second, still won the tour, and not have been tested that day? it just doesn't make sense.

    the fact that landis has been tested scores of times before and passed is relevant and is legally significant. it's pattern evidence. it tends to make the liklihood that someone tampered with this particular sample more likley.

    plus, there's the whole issue that there is no scientific evidence that a single shot of testosterone has any effect. yes, i know that you say that "some riders report benefits," but we're trying to stick to science and not anecdotal evidence here, aren't we? that seems to be the whole basis of your opinion, anyway

    i'm not saying that he's innocent, or that he's been framed. but i'm also not saying that he's guilty. i just don't know. there are too many unanswered questions.

    you're scoffing at and condemning those who aren't jumping on the "screw you floyd" bandwagon, as if they're crackpots for wanting to see a full invetiagtion and all of the evidence. before you go equating floyd with mumia , maybe you could give him a few weeks to muster a defense.  
    #  August 7th, 2006 11:54 AM      kris
    I was listening to Mike & Mike in the Morning on my way to work. They had a doping expert on. He says that with these new testosterone creams, they could be out of your system within hours. So, it could very well be that Landis did it and they just got the math wrong, or maybe the stage was so intense that it messed up something and it stayed in his system longer than they expected.

    He had to win that stage and win it by a BIG margin to be back in the Tour. He had to go for broke and he probably took WAY more of whatever he was taking because of it.  
    #  August 7th, 2006 12:06 PM      james
    that's possible, kris. i'm not saying it isn't. but then we still have the whole issue of there being no proven benfit from taking a single shot of testosterone. so again, why would he take it?  
    #  August 7th, 2006 12:23 PM      kris
    That's the question the doping expert asked too. I have two thoughts:

    1. Athletes and their doctors seem to be one step ahead of the doping experts. Maybe they know something we don't.

    2. Landis was desperate and was willing to try anything, no matter how stupid it was. He tried this thinking it just might help AND that since it should have been out of his body in a matter of hours, he wouldn't get caught.  
    #  August 7th, 2006 12:55 PM      james
    i dunno. as penn and teller would say, "the tour wasnt his first goatf*&k." landis is an experienced cyclist, not some lucky 14 year old who just made state. i find it unlikely that he would be "desperate" and "try anything."
    #  August 7th, 2006 1:23 PM      BVBigBro
    There are no unanswered issues. There is not one iota of evidence of a setup of any kind in any of cycling's recent doping scandals. The lab in question has behaved professionally and has been slandered repeatedly by people desperate for a defense.

    The fact that Landis did not test positive earlier is not relevant. It only establishes when he doped and the high level allowed before you are declared positive.

    What's there is a bunch of guilty riders and their lawyers squawking. Of course he was desperate. With the hip replacement he will never race again. This was his last chance.
    #  August 7th, 2006 1:55 PM      BVBigBro
    I see today his lawyer's have begun the conspiracy defense by claiming the Tour directors have an "agenda". Next he will blame "the French". Given the magnitude of the evidence against him, he may even blame the Masons and the Jews before we are done.

    And I forgot to add to the original post: Congratulations Oscar Pereiro!  
    #  August 7th, 2006 2:20 PM      kris
    I dunno. I think they are all cheating and Landis got caught because he got careless in his desperation.  
    #  August 7th, 2006 3:08 PM      james
    the rules of evidence and admissibility have been worked out for hundreds of years. his negative tests are relevant. the chain of custody is relevant.

    the procedures of the lab will come in to question, and if the whole procedure is as tight as you say it is then there shouldnt be a problem.

    but let me point out: to use your logic, BV, "what the lab did or didn't in the past is not relevant." sound about right to you? no, of course it's not right. because it IS relevant. reputation is relevant. pattern is relevant. procedures are relevant.

    your opinions are based on contradictory rules.

    - the lab's history is relevant but landis' isn't.

    - a positive result is "scientific" and should be accepted without question, yet the fact that there is no scientific evidence that a one-time injection of testosterone has any effect at all doesn't bother you.

    - the lab improperly leaked the results of the test, forcing landis to respond, yet you fault him for responding.

    - if chain of custody can be established then there shouldnt be a problem. yet according to you landis is a big so-and-so for even asking them to do so.

    again, it looks bad for landis. but none of us, including you, has enough information to make an intelligently informed decision as to his guilt or innocence. and frighteningly, according to you, landis shouldn't even be allowed to defend himself.
    #  August 7th, 2006 3:21 PM      BVBigBro
    The effects of Testosterone are irrelevant. The presence of the substance in a ratio greater than 4:1 to epitestosterone is banned.

    The lab has leaked nothing. UCI and WADA have leaked information, not the lab. Constant lying by people to blame the lab is not their problem.

    The rules of evidence are for criminal trials, which this isn't and shouldn't be. Landis had his day and failed. He is not being tried and faces no sanctions beyond those imposed by a private organization representing a private affair.  
    #  August 7th, 2006 3:35 PM      james
    umm, the rules of evidence apply to all trials, be they civil or criminal. but that really wasnt my point - my point is that you are proclaiming to know what is relevant and what is not, and you're wrong. believe me, it's relevant.
    #  August 7th, 2006 3:43 PM      BVBigBro
    There is no trial of any sort.  



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