Friday, November 10, 2006

Floyd Landis: Why Do I Care?

I have really been trying to figure out why I care so much about the Floyd Landis doping allegations. The story is very engrossing, starting with Floyd's horrible ride in the mountains at the Tour this summer, followed by his outrageous ride, then the announcement that he had a bad urine sample, then all the problems that have been revealed about the entire procedure. With the comments and rumors available on the Internet about the power brokers and conspiracy behind professional cycling, it reads like an unfolding novel! Here is something from today -

Trial in Cofidis affair opens window into cycling's doping culture

Doping has plagued cycling for years but has hit the sport particularly hard in 2006. A Spanish doping investigation led to nine riders _ including pre-race favorites Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich _ being barred from the Tour de France.

The Tour winner, Floyd Landis, tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone and is no longer considered the champion by race organizers. He denies doping and is contesting the charges.

This is by an AP writer who seemed to cover some TDF stories this summer, yet it is inaccurate on several counts. If not the writer, at least the editor who lets these things through should research the implied "facts" before going to print with a story!

First, Landis's level was not "excessive", rather the test alleges that the ratio of two types of testosterone were too far apart. That may mean that one type was too low. Additionally, there are too many problems with the test procedures, with the mathematics used to interpret the results, and the with samples themselves to even list here. See the current status updated several times daily here.

Secondly, Landis is still considered the champion, unless he loses his appeal - which, many observers agree, he has a good chance of winning. Landis is still listed as the winner at the official TDF web site.

And what does this have to do with running barefoot? Perhaps it is similar because of the way so many people think that just walking around during one's daily routine barefoot is a lot like being accused of doping in cycling. The self-appointed shoe police accuse barefooters of doing something that they believe is not good for the public health. Once accused, the barefooter has to prove his or her innocence. And that is the way it is in cycling with doping allegations - the doping police can accuse without much cause, and then the accused must prove innocence. That is not the way justice is supposed to work in the civilized world, or so I thought. Guilt has to be proved by the accuser. In cycling's case, the accuser is depending on tests to prove the guilt - but the tests in Landis's case don't look any more reliable than those winning lottery emails I get every day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


we linked this into the Landis news roundup at trust but verify