I think it was harder than I imagined it would be to come up with good questions for Floyd Landis, his actions so baffling and absurd as to render a rational approach well nigh impossible. How do you talk to a mad man?
Mark’s early entry, “When will you apologize to Greg LeMond?” got an answer over the weekend, when Landis actually showed up at the Tour of California and made a personal and in-person apology to the former champ. I’d have given half my spare parts to be a fly on the wall for that one.
Interestingly, the bulk of the questions contained more than a tinge of anger, which is, I suppose, understandable given the number of us who bought and read Landis’ book (I did). There is a level of public hypocrisy here seldom encountered, and many of us are still working out how to reconcile the lies with the possible truths on offer now. Is the boy crying wolf? Or is the wolf among the sheep even now?
For all his erratic behavior, the thing that strikes me about this current flap is the consistency of Landis’ approach. He ALWAYS rushes in when a measured approach would be better. He did this as a racer, and he’s done in it his post-suspension life as well. He also seems to traffic in the plausible more readily than the true, which is to say, his statements (including all his denials about doping post-2006) linger, not because they’re necessarily true, but rather because they’re plausible. It’s this combination of impetuousness and manufactured ambiguity that make him such a frustrating figure.
Even those who believe him now are forced to concede that Landis has gone about everything, start to finish, in the wrong way. It’s a difficult position to start from.
Certainly, he could have simply confessed his sins, cleared his conscience and moved on, but instead he’s chosen to scorch the earth, allegedly to help reform cycling, but the lie behind that sentiment is so transparent as to be insulting to those of us who really do wish for a reformed peloton.
The thing I can’t get over (among many, if I’m honest) is how Landis has managed to rally so much support over so many years despite being bat shit crazy. If I had that one question to ask, it would be this: “Floyd, what is it about you that people find so compelling that they’d cast their lot in with yours, not once, not twice, but over and over again?”
Having been a mad man, and having dealt with many of the same over the years, this is the component I find most interesting, the ability of those who would lie and cheat and steal, be they disgraced athletes or still-reigning champions, to continue on in that vein, year after year, decade after decade, lifetime after lifetime, to the consternation of us all.
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