The Passion of the Floyd Continues

Apr 24 2007

Ah, there’s nothing like struggling with the eccentricities of your local shop, assembling a new bike, changing banks, attempting to file a warranty claim with a defunct company, sending in ludicrous hard-copy forms after filing taxes on-line, correcting addresses (since the benefits and payroll offices at my “real” job can’t seem to compare records…) and doing boring, mind-numbing work to put you in a good mood, is there? Well, actually, there is – watching the anti-dope authorities attempt to prosecute offenders.

It’s not that I’m anti-anti-doping. It’s that I’m pro-pro cyclists. I personally think Landis is guilty, but under the rules of WADA and USADA, he – at least allegedly – has rights. I have no problem with testing his urine samples for synthetic testosterone, but it seems to me that the time to do it was last July, not two days ago. And let’s keep in mind, the whole trumphed up causus belli for this re-examination of samples was to evaluate the methods of the LNDD.

Now, I’m no expert on the subject, but it seems to me, leaving vials of urine unsupervised in the possession of lab whose credibility is certainly in question, denying representatives for the rider access to monitor the proceedings, and then leaking the results of the analysis to a publication renowned for its abject hatred of American cyclists seems like a piss-poor (if you’ll pardon the expression) means of “evaluation”.

What’s worst of all is that all this amounts to little more than a personal attack on Floyd Landis. Under WADA regulations, no charges can stem from these B-sample analyses. The only thing they’ll do is to further smear Landis’ name, while at the same time giving him more ammunition to cast doubt on the ethics of those accusing him, and, in the end, accomplish precisely nothing in terms of mitigating drug use in sport.

So why the media dog-and-pony show? Why would anyone undermine a case based on scientific fact, and carried out under mostly inscrutable conditions by showing the world that they’re hardly objective investigators? I get the feeling USADA’s got something of a chip on its shoulder because it’s completely powerless to prosecute the really big American cases, and feels it needs to get all the press it can.

Sadly, the result is a lose/lose/lose situation. Landis loses because, even if he’s acquitted, that’s a year and countless millions down the drain. Plus his name is shot, and the limpwrists over at ASO will simply blackball him out of all the big races. USADA loses because now every athlete they attempt to sanction can cite this case as evidence that they’re entirely unconcerned with the truth. And, as always, the fans are the biggest loser, since we’ve had to put up with this $&!t for the past 9 months. But hey, if it helps Howard Jacobs pay off his student loans, can it really be that bad?

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