It is ironic that during National Bicycling month that this scandal would rear its ugly head. In this month of promoting bicycling, one of cycling’s biggest names is being dragged through the mud once again with accusations of performance enhancing drugs and cheating. Cycling isn’t a widely followed sport in the US and Floyd Landis isn’t exactly a household name. But this week, Landis made accusations about Lance Armstrong, the most well known bicyclist in modern times.
Who is Floyd Landis? Briefly, Landis is a disgraced cyclist who won the 2006 Tour de France, then lost it when drug testing showed an unusually high ratio of the hormone testosterone. Landis was charged with blood doping and using performance enhancing drugs (PED). Landis had numerous hearings by various governing federations and offered a few lame excuses about whiskey altering his testosterone and strong denials of the charges. Every federation, domestic and international, that investigated the case arrived at the same conclusion: Guilty. Landis even went so far as to write a book about the Tour de France debacle and called it “Positively False”.
This week, Landis admitted he’d been lying. Landis confessed using a wide array of performance-enhancing drugs during a cycling career that included his nullified victory at the 2006 Tour de France. But that confession wasn’t all he had to say. He also accused his former teammate, seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, of using PED’s.
Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor and inventor of the ubiquitous yellow “Live Strong” bracelets, has called himself “the most tested athlete in the world” and probably for good reason. Armstrong has faced allegations like this before, but there has never been evidence of it. He was tested an incredible 24 times as of 2009, all of which were negative. This is not the first time that a “friend” has made an allegation like this one. In 2006, Greg LeMond, the first American to win the Tour de France, made similar allegations that were never substantiated. Armstrong has not publicly addressed Landis’ allegations.
In Southwest Florida opinions on the allegation are mixed. The question of whether or not the charges against Armstrong were believable was put to some residents. Local resident Jesse Lopez said he thinks Armstrong probably does use them and just has someone covering test results up. Nga Tran, who competes in a drug tested sport herself, disagrees, believing that if Armstrong has been tested so many times and never tested positive, he’s probably competing drug free.
What do you think? Is Lance Armstrong a master of deception or is the deceptive Floyd Landis trying to divert attention from his own misdeeds with blood doping and performance enhancing drugs? One thing is for sure, high level sports will always have cheats. The trick is identifying them.
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