I’ve read a lot of articles today, and done a lot of thinking, and here is what I’ve decided.
I’m sure that there’s a lot of truth in Floyd Landis’s confession today, and I’m just as sure that there’s a lot of truth in his accusations as well … but I also think that the deception that Landis has been living with for the past several years is also tainting this current story.
I don’t know if Lance Armstrong has ever doped or not. I find it rather difficult to believe that he hasn’t, when so many riders behind him in the 7 Tours de France that he won have ultimately tested positive for one drug or another. In fact, every single rider that has finished on the GC podium with Armstrong from 1999-2005 has been implicated in a doping scandal, and a majority of the riders finishing in the top-10 in each of his Tours.
The fact remains that Armstrong has never had a “legitimate” positive doping test … yes, there was that 1999 “positive” result for cortisone, which was chalked up to a prescribed topical creme; and there was that belated positive test for EPO in 2005 using a stored “B” sample from 1999 at the Châtenay-Malabry French national doping screening laboratory, which was discounted because there was no “A” sample which tested positive and, as shown during the Floyd Landis arbitration, does not have the tightest internal controls. Whatever, there’s no proof that Armstrong is a doper, but he also cannot prove that he is not a doper.
But enough about Armstrong. Landis also accused former teammates and like Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie and Michael Barry, three of whom (Zabriskie, Hincapie, and Barry) ride for teams that are known for their especially strict anti-doping programs. He also throws accusations at Andy Rihs (the owner of the Phonak company and team for which Landis rode in 2005 & 2006) and Jim Ochowicz (former general manager of the Motorola team, and current general manager of the BMC team), as well as accusing the UCI of accepting money to cover up positive doping tests … all without any evidence to back up the claims.
Quite frankly, when you make accusations without evidence, the only thing you can rely on is your credibility, and Landis’s credibility has been shot all to Hell by the timing of this news; by the actions of a member of his entourage towards Greg LeMond during the arbitration proceedings; by the now multiple versions of his story; by the fact that while he admits to doping, he still claims that he wasn’t doping for that miraculous win on Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France which put him back in the leader’s jersey … there’s really no end to the strikes against his credibility which ultimately damage his current claims.
Even if his claims are 100% true, I very seriously doubt that anything will come of them except news coverage over the next few days before it all fades into the background yet again, until the next doping scandal erupts at the Tour de France.
It’s all just really, really sad.