FGR #23 Wrap

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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14 comments

  1. SinglespeedJarv

    Certainly those emails that Planet Armstrong posted suggested that not only is Landis not really running in the real world, but neither are his close friends. That said, call it blackmail, call it a reasonable request to ride for Radioshack, it was a bonkers idea either way.

    However, the timing, the info, I don’t know how long Landis had been working on this, but he couldn’t have hoped for a better result. I think he was pretty smart on this one.

    I’m actually warming to him slightly and as long as he is doing this for his claims of cleaning up cycling, I’ll back him over The Other Side any day. In fact The Other Side seem to be losing favour the world over at the moment.

  2. Henry

    Most criminal enterprises collapse not because some person of character stepped forward to tell the truth but because one of the criminals ratted out his former accomplices for reasons that are rarely altruistic or honorable (and usually following a long history of lying and generally appalling behavior). But the truth or part of the truth is still true no matter the source.

    If it sets in motion an investigation which turns other former participants into (more credible) informers it’s all over.

  3. eatiusbirdius

    I think one of the things that has surprised me as well is the *overwhelming* amount of people that have suddenly jumped into Floyd’s camp and have their sights bearing down on Armstrong after last week. It blows my mind! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a Floyd supporter both pre-2006 AND post-2006. I believed him when he said he wasn’t a doper and believed the evidence that the lab screwed up (so much for that). So I’m not one of those scary “fight to the death” supporters for Armstrong. However, I do really like him as a cyclist just as much as I enjoyed Floyd as a cyclist. But what, in this new “revelation”, has thrown people so far into Landis’ side all of a sudden? I’m not saying he’s lying because no can really know for sure given the current evidence or lack thereof. But is there really anything different in this instance that is solely different from any previous accusations against Armstrong? You would think that the source (Floyd with all his fresh and new revelations of lies) would sour people even further to discount his claims. Somehow, someway, it’s done the complete opposite. Check out forums, comments, tweets…etc., the general sentiment seems to be, “now is the time to crucify Armstrong.” It’s almost like people are just blindly believing that because Floyd says it, it must suddenly be true? These people, without truly looking at both sides soberly even for a moment, have almost become no different than the blind “Lance can do no wrong” club. When you sincerely look at the evidence given so far, it takes just as much of a jump of faith to believe Floyd as it does to believe Lance who says he didn’t do it. So am I missing something? What is suddenly making people so sure that Lance is guilty?

    To me, there is more than enough history to prove that Floyd has a grudge against Lance, and vice versa. Did anyone see the deragatory remarks about Armstrong’s appearance fee at the ATOC in the emails that came out this week? That didn’t show some level of bitterness? There was a lot of speculation that Lance and Floyd had a fallout while still at Postal. Brasstown Bald as some public evidence anyone? It just seems a little odd that only the top American cyclists were called out as well. What about his teammates at Phonak? No one doped there? Come on! What about all the other Posties and guys he cycled with? I thought he wanted to help get rid of doping completely? Something just seems a little off in all this. While we can’t turn a blind eye to his accusations, I feel like very little attention is being paid to the possibility that this really could be a grudge or further lies and his calling everyone else out is more of an effort to take the focus off the fact that he lied about his being clean and bilked people out of tens of thousands of dollars in book sales and support for his legal fight. It just seems a little odd that people aren’t looking at things more subjectively and it makes me wonder why.

    I don’t know…I’m so confused. Seems like every organization involved with cycling and the riders themselves have now been accused of some sort of corruption, lies, and misgivings. I personally have no clue who to believe in the cycling world any longer. Should it really suck this bad being a fan of a sport?

    Sorry for the horrendously long comment.

    1. Padraig

      Thanks for the great comments. Boy.

      I gotta say, after reading the e-mails posted on Radio Armstrong, I feel … really badly for Dr. Kay. He’s obviously a good guy trying to do good things and even after doing all he could to sell Floyd on putting a cork in it, Floyd went and did the exact opposite. Wow.

      DV8Sean: Great writer, great quote.

      Eatiusbirdius: No need to apologize. Nice to know you’re riled up.

  4. eatiusbirdius

    Someone had questions about Dr. Kay over at the Velocast site and and I had wrote the following. I feel bad for him too. Looks like he was trying to help:

    FYI. Dr. Kay is actually a very close friend of Floyd. He helped in the hip surgery that Landis had and is actually quite a good cyclist himself from my understanding. He used to hold a weeklong camp with Landis here in So. Cal. He also owns OUCH medical center, which is a General Family and Sports Therapy medical practice. He is the one that funded OUCH cycling team last year. In rare bit of coincidence, I was looking for a Dr. about 6 years ago in my area and randomly picked OUCH medical center without knowing any of his affiliation with Floyd. When I went into the office the first time, there was huge, autographed, awesome picture of Floyd time trialing. I met Dr. Kay and he was, and still is, a very nice guy. I just had an office visit recently for the first time in couple years and it was so sad to see that picture was gone now.

  5. Alex Torres

    Dr. Kay is just another nice person who believed Landis and got screwed by him. Like the many (including me) who bought his book or donated to his cause, but since he was closer he got burned in worse manners. Reading through those emails and it looks to me that Floyd was playing deaf to his pleas as much as Lance was to Landis´ requests. Which IMHO speaks volumes.

    It´s clear that he was just trying to find a “honourable” way out of cycling (or was he) by riding the AToC for a good team. But knowing he was this liar and unreliable, unstable and impetuous prick, I´d guess no one would accept him in.

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  7. Sophrosune

    It does seem that a critical mass has developed around the idea that Armstrong is in fact guilty of doping from this latest Landis’ accusation, which he managed to avoid in all the others (Andreu’s wife’s sworn testimony, his masseuese’s sworn testimony, or the EPO positive test from his 1999 Tour samples, etc., etc.).

    I think it might have to do with the possibility that Armstrong’s ex-wife Kristin may in fact corroborate Landis’ story and a FDA investigator has been put on the case. Or maybe it’s just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    In any case, has anyone noticed that Team Radioshack really sucks this season. Other than Horner’s win at the Tour of the Basque Country, nada.

  8. SinglespeedJarv

    So the current “Land Grenade” (C)nyvelocity investigation list is:
    Feds looking into Landis’ claims and speaking to USADA, Landis (& Katrin Armstrong?)
    Begian Cycling Federation investigating Bruyneel
    French Cycling Federation investigating John Lelangue

    any others?

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