Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Floyd, Lance et al; What does Evo think ?
Happier days ?
We just happened to be at the Tour of California last year when the avalanche of accusations from Floyd first surfaced. My dear mother, who is convinced Lance Armstrong walks on water, was gravely concerned. I’ve been following cycling long enough that doping accusations against Lance were nothing new.
I’m not a Lance worshiper, but I enjoyed Lance’s books as much as the next guy. While I could identify with the cycling, it was the descriptions of his periods of self-doubt following the cancer recovery that I felt made the first book worth reading.
Did Lance dope? I didn’t want to rush to judgment, especially when I wanted him to be clean, so I was slow to soak in the details of Floyd’s claims. In the months since, new details just keep coming. The rate of articles making ever-wilder claims has increased to an almost comical level.
The dark cloud over the 2010 TOC brought some rain.
For reasons I cannot explain, last night I read the entire Landis interview by Paul Kimmage. A few things stuck out immediately. There were some moral questions asked by Kimmage. “Would you steal to feed your family,” kind of stuff. The answers given by Landis did not seem consistent. I couldn’t figure out where he was coming from. I realize people have different motivations and individual definitions of right and wrong, but I couldn’t figure out Landis. I know enough about personality tests to know that if you aren’t telling the truth your answers don’t add up. This wasn’t enough for me to dismiss Landis’ claims, but it was time to go to bed, so I slept.
In the bright light of the new day something else seemed odd to me. Floyd said Lance did it, in fact the whole team did it, and the team Manager knew about it. He said the riders in the peloton talked about blood transfusions the way age group racers talk about chain lube and power bars. Floyd said that USA cycling was complicit with the doping. He also said the UCI, WADA, USADA and, as a matter of fact, EVERYONE was in on the deal. He named names. Names like Ochowicz, Verbruggen, Byrneel, Periero, Ferrari, and others.
It struck me as unrealistic that organizations that have been feuding for years about hundreds of issues large and small could somehow manage to keep doping a secret. This would be the biggest cover up since we faked landing on the moon in 1969. Just kidding, but it would take that kind of conspiracy to pull off what Floyd has proposed.
If Floyd’s claims are real, why hasn’t another rider come out and said, “yeah, it went down the way Floyd said it did?” There are enough retired riders who are confessed dopers that one or more could logically come forward and corroborate the story. The only people coming forward are former handymen and others with axes to grind. Confessed dopers like David Millar could say, “yep, that’s how we did it.” They haven’t. Why is that? If you buy the conspiracy thing, then it makes sense. I don’t.
Let me summarize my objections to Floyd’s claims:
1. Floyd isn’t believable – Just the one interview on it’s own makes me question him
2. Everybody was in on it ? Riders, teams, multiple governing organizations ?
3. Nobody from the peloton has validated the claims
If it comes out that Lance doped, I won’t have to question the meaning of life. I find it more plausible that Lance doped and nobody knew about it, than believing Lance doped and EVERYBODY knew about it.
Time to get my Groundhog day preparations in order.