Saturday, July 3, 2010

When Mennonites go bad.

Old Floyd is back at it again...

I don't expect you to read the whole thing, hell I only got to this part of the story when I felt the rug of reality pulled out from under me by ol' Floyd.

In May 2002, Mr. Landis said, Mr. Armstrong told him there was a chance he might be tapped to ride at the Tour. He offered to rent Mr. Landis an apartment in St. Moritz, the Swiss resort town where he was living during the cycling season.

Nearly every day for weeks the two men went on punishing rides in the mountains where, Mr. Landis recalled, he often had trouble keeping up. Mr. Armstrong's training adviser, an Italian doctor named Michele Ferrari, followed behind in an old station wagon stocked with food, water and warm clothes for the descents. At the top of a climb, Dr. Ferrari would pull over to analyze the wattage meters on their bikes that measured how much power they were putting into the pedals.

By June, Mr. Landis had shown great improvement. He finished second to Mr. Armstrong in the seven-day Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, a warm-up race for the Tour de France. After the race, Mr. Landis said, he was packing to leave the hotel when Mr. Bruyneel, the team director, knocked on the door.

Mr. Landis said Mr. Bruyneel congratulated him and gave him the news he'd been hoping for—that he would likely be named to the nine-man Tour de France team.

According to Mr. Landis, Mr. Bruyneel told him that when he arrived back in St. Moritz, Mr. Armstrong would give him something to shorten his recovery time in the weeks leading up to the Tour. Mr. Landis said Mr. Bruyneel told him they were small patches that contained testosterone and that Mr. Landis should stick one on his stomach two out of every three nights before going to bed.

This story just doesn't gel...

So in the story, according to Floyd, a non doping Landis destroyed all comers at the 2002 Dauphine, save for a doped up Armstrong, and finished 2nd. That's quite a feat for a clean cyclist who at that point in his career had only hinted to JB that he would be willing to dope to make the squad, but claims to have not doped yet. If he could do 2nd overall in an event like the DL, then, I'd imagine that if he started sticking testosterone patches on his tummy he'd be able to clean the floor with everyone including Lance.

Not only that, but back in 2002 Lance wasn't nearly the god he is now, and if I were a team manager, in JB's shoes, and I was relying on a doped up Armstrong to win my tours, and then I found this little Mennonite beast that could shred the field and finish 2nd while riding clean, then I'm telling you straight up, JB would have dumped Lance and began pumping Landis with all kinds of illegal crap in hopes of winning 10 tours.

Think about it, if everyone is dirty, and the doping is systematic, then a kid who comes out of nowhere and cranks out a 2nd place finish in one of the most prestigious events in cycling, while riding clean, would truly be THE new star of the show.

Or, he's just full of it. Again.

I don't worship at the alter of Lance, by any means, and I'm not so diluted that I don't believe that he engaged in performance enhancing drugs either. What I do believe, is that the machine around Lance is a lot more organized than these tell-all stories really convey. What's more likely, that either A, Lance has never doped, or B, that he's a blood pumping vampire in the mold of Alexander Vinokourov, or C, that the handlers and trainers of Lance did a masterful job of keeping him training on the cutting edge of science and chemistry, that the anti-doping controls in place to prevent chemical mischief were years behind Lance's 'vitamins'.

I think, C.

See, supplements are in all of sport. And supplements regularly get declared illegal, after champions of the game have enjoyed their benefits for years. Then, the smart champion doesn't keep taking the illegal stuff. Oh no, that's when the big money pros have new and fancy supplements created to offer them increased performance while still maintaining their legal status. As long as you can get vitamin supplements at the supermarket, and shops like GNC are seemingly in every shopping mall, you will have athletes looking for that special legal cocktail for success.

But my god, get past it. Just enjoy the Tour. Understand that people will always try to cheat, and people will get busted for it every year. The event isn't perfect, as no sport is. Not everyone is a cheating pig, and until they get rousted as a cheating pig, then they shouldn't get flagged in public as a cheating pig by documented cheating pigs. Why, years after being discredited as a pig, do I have to read about Floyd Landis over and over and over? If Lance and Hincappie and Rubiera and the others on Tour winning teams past and future, test positive for doping and drugs, then pigs they will be. Until then, though, cycling struggles just like the NFL or most any other sanctioned competition, to keep the game as clean as possible.
Well, OK... except for Major League Baseball... they seem to like it dirty.


Steve Reed said...

1. Floyd Landis is a Mennonite??
2. Who's Alexander Vinokourov?

Certainly doping will always occur, but I think it's essential to figure out why it occurs, and who's responsible. I haven't read this article, but I like these kinds of post-mortems if they help me understand what happened.

Utahdog! said...

There are three N's in Mennonite? Who new!?