Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's an honest man worth?

"Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."

                                                                                  - Thomas Paine, Author of 'The Age of Reason'

Like many of you, I finally finished reading the Floyd Landis - Paul Kimmage transcript last night.  Nothing in it surprised, or shocked me. Through my lens, Landis comes across as a pragmatic, ambitious kid who got into a corrupt system.  Indignant after being victimized when the same system flicked him, he's deployed the "if I'm going down, I'm bringing you all with me" tactic.  The 'ol back to the wall nuclear option.  Not a new concept, we've seen it in Mafia tales for years.   You get a guy in a position where he has nothing to lose, and feels hard done by, and he pushes that button.  But if you do that to the mob, you might get move to a new state, change your name, and start over.   That is if you're not bundled into the trunk of a car first and drilled with more holes than one of Eddy Merckx' old brake levers. 

But alas, there's no witness protection program for highly public ex-Tour de France champions who spit in the soup.   They instead are dropped big-time to deal with broken families, stunted career options, and judging by the vitriol on the web, irreparably damaged personal reputations.    

I read the venomous stuff written about Landis on the web by many ranging from those he's implicating to the man in the street, and quite frankly, I don't get the vitriol.  Landis gets portayed as a liar, a rat.  'Once a liar, always a liar.'  

Perpetual liar?  Or just maybe a truly honest man?   It's one or the other.   Pick your side jongen


Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.   It won't be me.   I don't know Floyd, and won't judge him either.  


"An honest man is always a child" - Socrates
I can say that nothing in that Paul Kimmage conversation seems far fetched, contrived or malicious to me.  Maybe I'm a thick Mick, or a little gullible, but it seems like Landis is telling the truth to me.   I'm personally inclined to believe his account.  Not because I want to.  But because it's logical.


If cycling in the past decade has demonstrated one thing for certain, it's a testament to how much Americans love to believe in fairy tales.  Need fairy tales.  But I think fairy tales should be reserved for bedtime reading to small children, stopping around age seven - traditionally called the 'age of reason'.   After that age, pattern recognition and deductive reasoning ought to kick in, and start to provide valid means to opinion formulation.  And sorry, you don't need to have direct proof to develop supportable opinions that are highly likely valid.  And despite what some would have us believe, it's perfectly ok to believe in things you can't prove.

No, in this case I'll go with deductive reasoning and dot connecting based on peripheral personal observations over 30 years in and around cycling.  A veritable mountain of circumstantial evidence.

Guess all this makes me a 'troll'.  Well, so be it.  I'm probably in good company.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man."   

And while I'd like to believe that's not true -- in Floyd Landis case anyway, I'm afraid that assertion is sadly proving to be spot on.  

But what say you wielersupporters?    Comments welcome...

15 comments:

  1. First of all - what are you alleging?

    Did Lance Armstrong take PED's or EPO or did the whole US Postal team take it as it has been alleged in the press in which LA actually pressured team members to do so. It is also public knowledge that Frankie Andreau took EPO in the 1999 TdF when he was captain of the US Postal team (refer to wikipedia)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankie_Andreu

    Back in 2005 the French sports daily L'Équipe accused Lance Armstrong of using the performance-enhancing drug EPO during 1999 Tour de France. For years, it had been impossible to detect the drug, called erythropoietin, until UCI began using a urine test for EPO in 2001. According to the newspaper, tests on 1999 urine samples were done to help scientists improve their detection methods. The newspaper said 12 samples had revealed EPO use, including six from Armstrong.

    Be a little more specific when throwing out allegations - you talking about the pro cycling peleton or LA - BOTH ARE GUILTY!

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  2. You are right Eddie and the noose is starting to tighten around LA's neck. Up to now he has been able to win legal battles against his accusers because he has more money than God. But he won't win against the government. It is not just him of course but many many riders in the peloton. He is just he largest and most well known.

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  3. Ted - To clarify, I'm not throwing out any allegations. There's plenty of that out there already and I'm a nobody. Just saying that to this observer it seems Landis' story of systematic EPO/transfusions in the peloton is totally plausible (Let's see, there's Riis' refrigerator, Landis, David Millar, Museeuw, Zabel, Thomas Dekker...etc. etc. etc.) and that just maybe he's not a 'serial liar' and the judgemental world should cut him some slack, even perhaps even feel a little sorry for him.
    Eddy

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  4. 1. Floyd is dirt. Just remember his attack on Lemond. Let me know if you really want to hear me out.
    2. Sean Kelly once said: You should be that good for the stuff to make any difference. Did he race clean?
    3. These guys are on a different planet called professional cycling. None of us will ever comprehend their job description. As Charlie Chaplin once said: "Judging others is easy, try do it yourself".
    4. As I said before, this is entertainment industry, not sport. Actors just happen to be pretty tough and easily accessable.
    5.Did I mention that Floyd is dirt.

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  5. Eddy,

    I agree with your assessment. I do feel sorry for Landis, he doesn't seem all there to me. I think he did a good job explaining the difficulties he's had over the last few years trying to deal with everything. Paul K however is out to get Armstrong and the interview was really biased but the answers very plausible. The world of PED's in cycling is like guinness in Dublin, they exist in unison. I'm not saying to turn a blind eye but it is sad that cycling (and running for that matter) is under the microscope while the "big sports" get a pass. A footballer gets a 4 game suspension for PED's. Michael Vick is welcomed back with open arms, Ben Roth(what ever his name is) allegedly rapes women and is a hero. The standard is not applied to NFL, MLB, and NBA, or European soccer. Testers may be loosing the battle but at least they are trying (on the surface anyway) to clean up the sport.
    Cycling has to look at its own history. The peleton has always been riff with drug abuse. Cleaning up the sport will be very difficult. And maybe Landis is opening up some of the eyes that seem to either knowingly look the other way or really do believe that the likes of LA are clean athletes. I'm sure he has other motives. I don't buy his not caring about money. I'm sure if Lance is done he'll be looking for his whistle blower payout. Bottomline, the likes of SI or any other mainstream media refuse to support cycling all year. They don't report the classics or the other grand tours but this story is headlines. Cycling has a lot of positives and a wonderful history. That story needs to be told too. They should just lift from this blog!
    Hope all is great.
    Kel

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  6. Eddy,
    I'm with ya on this, I took the same out of it that you did.
    g

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  7. Eddy,

    I think history will judge Floyd Landis as being the instrumental person in changing the pro sport of cycling for the better - no matter how ugly it's going to get in the next year or two.

    There's going to be a lot of people doing federal time - perhaps even Lance - not for using EPO - but for taking sponsorship money from a federal agency (USPS) and using EPO for obtaining results that otherwise would not be possible. Selling bikes to buy PED's and EPO is the focal point of FDA's prosecution.

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  8. The travesty of this sad tale is that FL's reality was so deranged that he could substantiate his three year battle because they did not catch him on the correct method by which he was cheating - auto-transfusions as opposed to exogenous testosterone. He was pissed that they had him on the wrong charge, which I could imagine would leave him upset, especially if Perriero and the like bad mouthed him while they were also using auto-transfusions as well.

    The story further reveals the terrible "science" that the UCI/WADA/USADA has trumped up in their kangaroo courts to be sacrosanct and above the acceptable gold standard of evidence based scientific inquiry.

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  9. http://cyclocosm.com/2011/02/raw-documents-the-verbruggenlandis-exchange/
    landis is certainly not making everything up...

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  10. Forgot this one:
    6. Novitzky investigation is absolutely horrible waste of taxpayers money. Don't we have some real crime to investigate? Like drug related murders or ...waste of taxpayers money?

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  11. Landis seems to me to be an amiable rube, powerful on the bike but weak in character, and easy prey for guys like Lance and Bruyneel. His account rings true.

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  12. FYI - Jeff Novitzky is a special agent with the FDA - he gets paid a salary whether or not litigates anything "AND" the FDA does not investigate or prosecute drug-related murders - get your facts straight.

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  13. Professional racing and the UCI are why I admire the common randonneur/randoneuse out there.

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  14. Eddy’s rant made me think… I may fall into the “it's perfectly ok to believe in things you can't prove” (or dis-prove). I don’t want to believe what Floyd said was true, but given the doping history of cycling… who knows. The question few want to address is “If true, what is the damage t our beloved sport…?”

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  15. Ted,
    Whatever Novitzky is, FDA or not, he works for US government. His investigation talent can be directed towards real crimes, not this boloney.

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