Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tour de France "Winner" Floyd Landis' "B" Test Proves Final Blow

Floyd Landis, hoping his "B" test would disprove his previously failed "A" test, was seriously disappointed with the latest results. Not only was his testosterone level far above the limits, the test also showed synthetic testosterone was in his system after the stage in which he made up 8 minutes to vault himself back to the frontrunners in the race.

Phonak, Landis' team, immediately fired its captain (Landis, of course), stating, "This will be his personal affair, and the Phonak team will no longer be involved."

As I have posted previously, Landis has been shown to have synthetic testosterone coursing through his veins. While he has offered up various excuses for the elevated levels (almost 3 times the limit), he hasn't offered up any plausible explanations for synthetic testosterone within his system.

Now, speculation is a fun, yet oftentimes very disappointing, activity. Jumping to conclusions by assuming that Landis did indeed take something, many questions arise:

What did he take? How did he take it? How long was he on a program? Did he take it periodically throughout the race and prior training or did he take it only after his miserable stage 16? These questions, and more, may never be answered.

Unfortunately, Landis' image has been irreparably harmed, I believe. Thus far, he has been proven to be a cheater. The tests prove it. Until he can devise a scenario, proven by the same testing, that one or a combination of all the excuses he has given thus far could lead to a "natural" occurrence not only of such elevated levels but also the appearance of synthetic testosterone, he will be considered a cheater.

Reminds me of Bill Clinton and his "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Floyd, better to come out now and tell the world what you did than have the court of public opinion, not to mention the court of appeals, determine your fate. Come clean, so to speak. Once your suspension is over (it is assumed he will get a two-year ban in addition to losing his Tour title), come back and dominate the sport. Test clean.

Prove your doubters wrong.

Now, a lot of people are disparaging cycling and its top cyclists. I do still believe a person is innocent until proven guilty. So in the case of Ullrich and Basso, kicked out on allegations, I believe them to be innocent. Not a single test or admission of guilt has come out of their being sacked before the race started. However, in Landis' case, hasn't he been proven guilty by virtue of not one but two failed drug tests?

His guilt should not necessarily be associated with all of cycling. Clearly, most recreational riders are not druggies. I'd venture that even most competitive riders are not cheats. Those at the very top? Well, I would have to ask how they got there? What separates them from the rest? I used to think it was the talent, hard training, and diet. Maybe it still is: A diet of syringes, "supplements," and topical ointments.

It is sad, but it's life. People resort to desperate measures when they want to win.