Lance and Landis – The truth is out there !

Last week was one of the most dramatic in years from a cycling point of view . In the Giro nothing went to script and on what should have been a pretty straight forward longest stage most of the favourites missed a huge split after 20k and lost over 12 minutes . Then on Wednesday Emails from Floyd Landis which detailed his drug taking during his cycling career were ‘leaked’ . His admission alone would have been newsworthy , but when he also named Lance Armstrong ,George Hincapie , David Zabriskie among others including BMC Team owner Andy Rijhs the whole media world exploded .

Lance and his supporters have basically said that Floyd is a nut case and that it’s all a load of bullshit – to quote Lance himself . Floyd has said he wants to clear his conscience , but that’s not the real motivation either . The whole thing is much more complex than that .

Lance Armstrong is the great American hero . He survived cancer to come back and win the Tour 7 times . He is a hero to millions of not just cycling fans but sports fans in general , and more importantly cancer victims . His Livestrong foundation appears to be doing more to fight cancer than any other organisation worldwide .  I look down at my own wrist as I type and see a yellow band , a livestrong band . Is this because I am a Lance Armstrong supporter and fan , no , it’s my link to someone lost to cancer . The yellow band is a symbol of hope for those with cancer and a reminder of the person who did not win their own personal battle for those who lost someone to the disease .

I know a person from a small town in Ireland with no interest in cycling whatsoever who was given Lances autobiography ‘It’s not about the bike’ when he was first diagnosed . The book was his inspiration and gave him hope when the doctors were being ‘realistic’ , and he fought Cancer and  won .

Lance Armstrong is meticulous in all of his preparation . Whether it be his bike , his helmet , his position , pedaling technique, or training programme he leaves nothing to chance . Would this level of extreme preparation include a finely tuned performance enhancing drug programme ?

If much of what Lance achieved was on the back of a highly organised system of doping where does that leave the cancer victims ? Has he lied to and cheated Cancer victims or have lives been saved due to what he may have done ?

Floyd Landis had a very puritanical upbringing . He began cycling as an escape route just like many others and discovered that his appetite for extreme volumes of training made him a successful cyclist . He was one of Lance’s most trusted domestiques and they were friends . Did he look at Lance and ask himself why Lance got all the money and fame while he was just a donkey who had everything taken from him ?

There are drugs in all sports , especially those with money involved . The media glare is always on cycling with regards to performance enhancing drug taking so cycling has been forced to clean up its act . Journalists seem very slow to dig around in other sports as much , why is this ?

Most top athletes and sports people were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths . Many grew up poor and sport was their way to a better life . Whether it be a Russian Salt Mine or a Texas Wall Mart , once they get the pro contract they will do pretty much anything to avoid returning to their plan B . When a young clean pro shuffles into a lift after 14 days of a grand tour with every muscle in his body aching and is joined by a fellow competitor who bounces in and says ‘ aahh you no preparation , me gooood ‘ , the temptation is there .

So how do you eliminate drug taking in sport ? I think the only way is to make it illegal in a big way . No governing body of any sport will ever be able to do much about it . It’s all too political and too much of a tight knit group where everyone knows everyone . That’s why it needs someone from totally outside sport in general . A federal investigation in America brought down Marion Jones . The same investigator is now supposed to be looking into the Landis case . If that happens then I for one would not like to be in Lance’s Nikes .

Cycling is a very pure activity . Racing should be too . These guys are doing a lot to help that happen

This controversy may just be a huge turning point in the sport in general or it may just fade away , only time will tell .


2 thoughts on “Lance and Landis – The truth is out there !

  • May 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Mellow Johnny.

    A driven man. A clever man. A wealthy man. A generous man ( let the UCI answer that one ). A talented sportsman. A man re-born. Which of these best describes Mellow Johnny ? He’d have us believe that he’s not a man, but God Almighty himself.

    My comment on the drugs in sport issue is ” NO SECOND CHANCES ” Life time ban’s for all, once proven !!!!

  • May 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Great Stuff Barry – Nike must be quaking in their Nike’s. Radio Shack must be ‘Shacking’ themselves and Pat McQuaid must be looking for online jobs.

    A separate governing body like the IOC or WADA perhaps should take these problems on but hold on a minute – they already are! It hasn’t done much.

    A Federal investigation has started against Armstrong and Co. As Paul Kimmage stated on radio “those guys don’t mess about”. They couldn’t care less about Mr Armstrong, Cycling or anyone else. They just want the bad guys.

    If Armstrong is proven guilty is it a good thing or bad thing?

    It would be a dire result for cycling as sponsors would evaporate overnight and the sport would free fall into obscurity. Cancer patients and victims would feel cheated by probably the lowest form imaginable and money donators would feel robbed.

    For those reasons – I think he will be allowed to quietly disappear.

    We can only wait and see. We may never know the truth.

    But I know how I feel about him – I have followed the simple phrase throughout my business life and through most of my adult life – “if it’s too good to be true, it usually is…



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