Now that cyclist Floyd Landis has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, his 2006 Tour de France crown now officially a sham, but his conscience clean, hopefully he’ll be able to sleep at night. And hopefully, for cycling fans, he’ll go away and never be heard from again. But, wishing for Landis’ exit isn’t likely to be granted because when he finally told the truth about his doping, he revealed more about himself than the scandal that’s plagued cycling for decades.
Not only did Landis admit to using performance-enhancing drugs, but did so during the worst possible time for cycling and decided to pull a handful of prominent riders down into the mud with him. He had to of known that coming clean this week, during the Tour of California, the top road race in the states, that he’d steal all the headlines away from the tour, in what should be an eight-day celebration of the sport. And by fingering champion Lance Armstrong as well as well-known cyclists George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and David Zabriskie, he’d throw enough kindling onto the fire to cause an explosion that would burn bright for the next several days.
As should be expected, Armstrong has already denied the allegations from Landis, doing so at a press conference prior to Stage 5 of the Tour of California.
Landis shouldn’t be lauded as a hero, or as someone blowing the whistle on the sport’s deepest, darkest secret, but as a snitch and someone desperate, clinging to the edge, grabbing for anything to hang onto before falling to the bottom, which is where he’s destined to go.
After being stripped of his 2006 title, he fought the allegations for four years, proclaiming his innocence, even going as far as writing a book “Positively False.” He fought the drug courts, committing $2 million of his own money to clear his name.
Turns out, like his 2006 Tour title, it was all a large lie. Maybe it took Landis four years to realize this, and possibly, he knew the truth all along. Or, maybe the truth is all he has left.
In emails sent to USA Cycling chief Steve Johnson, Landis indicated he has diaries detailing other experiences, so this might not over.
However you feel about Armstrong, he’s been linked to doping before; Landis isn’t the most credible of sources and without hard proof, his claims come off as baseless and pathetic.
When Landis doped to increase his 2006 Tour chances, it was a selfish act, and now four years later, admitting his guilt during the Tour of California is much the same—selfish.