Tuesday, August 01, 2006


OK, so Floyd Landis might end up an American "hero" or the biggest fraud of all time. He can't be both (like Barry Bonds). Here's a primer on the doping scandal, so you don't have to read through all of it on espn.com.

After Landis got rocked on the stage 16 climb, and went from 1st place to 11th place, everyone counted him out. Then, the very next day, he beat the shit out of everyone on the final, and most difficult, climb of the tour, and was in second. A time trial (at which Landis is indisputably the leader this year) later and he was the Tour Champion, and the third American to win in the last 20 years. That meant we had 11 victories in that span. Tour de America, they should be calling it!

BUT WAIT!!! A few days later the story broke that Landis's testosterone levels were high. Too high to be normal.

Of course, that wasn't the truth, the whole truth, and all that jazz. Really, what the test shows is the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. But that's just splitting hairs, or picking nits: I can never really decide which.

Anyway, the problem with that is, in the public's eye it looked like he cheated. But in order to enhance performance using testosterone boosters you would have to take it OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. A one day dose would be stupid. Everyone who knows 'roids knows that. Right?

Well, maybe not Floyd Landis. We have been force fed this Mennonite BS since he had a chance to win. Really pushing the ALL NATURAL Landis, trying to distance him from all the other allegations in cycling (even Armstrong). Maybe because of this upbringing he didn't learn what every couch potato watching sportscenter knows. Because the new leak says the TESTOSTERONE FOUND WAS SYNTHETIC.

So the idiot (or perhaps I should call him a dope, ehh ehh? whatever) may have ruined his career, and good name, as well as the last hopes for American viewers and sponsors, for absolutely nothing. Let me make this clear: he did not test positive the day before or the day after that stage. That means if the synthetic report turns out to be correct, he did NOTHING to help his chances of winning. Nadda, Zip, Zilch, you get the idea. All this can do is hurt him, by making a positive test.

And if he didn't dope? Well, no one will know. Most people have already made up their minds one way or the other. The court of public opinion has already spoken, and he will have to test everyday for the rest of his life to gain back a fraction of the fanbase he lost.

But already, THIS report asks a good question. Who cares? Who should care? Should WE care? I am a cycling fan, so I watched and hoped another American could pull it off. I invested some of my emotion (not even enough to last half a basketball game). Should I care? The problem is this sport is so far on our periphery, especially since we don't have Lance, that the collective WE, the American WE, doesn't need it. (Just look at soccer after Pele, or baseball after the strike--I would say hockey, but that has been in the red for some time)

We have football, and basketball, which are both ahead of the other national passtime in the ratings. ESPN is branching out into darts, poker, bowling, fishing, chess, wake boarding, skiing, skateboards, motocross, ping pong, luge, the list goes on and on. We have so much else to fill our plates, we don't need to dwell on this "scandal" the way the last generation is with baseball (they are failing, by the way).

And perhaps the biggest truth is, EVERYONE has ridden a bike. "How hard can it be?" we ask ourselves, "to pedal a bike in a race a few days." We just can't understand how someone would need steroids to win.

And we never will, until we pedal 1500 miles in their shoes.

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