Floyd Landis: Cycling’s Jose Canseco
Four years ago, cyclist Floyd Landis was the Tour de France leader and the new American hope to carry Lance Armstrong’s torch. After his surge on the 17th stage, Landis tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and he was later stripped of his Tour de France victory. Landis was then suspended two years by the USADA for using performance-enhancing drugs. Ever since his suspension, Landis has fought for his reputation by denying any use of PEDs. After four years of denial, Landis finally came clean on Wednesday night saying he wanted to clear his conscience. Landis added to ESPN that “[he doesn't] want to be part of the problem anymore.” Well, Landis has gone well beyond being part of the problem and he’s now taking the Jose Canseco approach to fixing things.
Much like Jose Canseco, the former baseball star who felt blackballed by MLB, Landis called himself a pariah who had little chance of ever riding for an elite team. I’m sure his status in the cycling world has driven him to his decision to blow the lid off the scandal in the sport. The Wall Street Journal says Landis fired off emails to USA Cycling and the International Cycling Union detailing his and others’ PED usage:
The emails are particularly focused on American riders. Mr. Landis said in them that during his career, he and other American riders learned how to conduct blood transfusions, take the synthetic blood booster Erythropoietin, or EPO, and use steroids. Mr. Landis said he started using testosterone patches, then progressed to blood transfusions, EPO, and a liquid steroid taken orally.
Landis says heroic figure Lance Armstrong was heavily involved in PED use and that Armstrong’s coach introduced Landis to the world of doping and PEDs. Additionally, Landis reportedly called the drug testing by the USADA a “charade” and he explained in his emails how to get around the tests.
People may discredit Landis’ assertions and question his character for whatever reason. I see a man who has a “nothing to lose” attitude and a desire to get back at the sport that he feels wronged him. His situation reminds me completely of Jose Canseco’s. The difference is that Canseco was motivated by hate and greed — he wanted to make money selling books — while Landis seems fed up with the PED culture in cycling and like he’s grown a conscience. Good for him. Let’s hope the anti-doping associations learn from his emails and catch up with the cheaters with their new information. As for what Landis is saying, it’s no surprise to me; I’ve long heard that cycling was one of the dirtiest sports around.