Monday, June 30, 2008

Landis Guilty of Doping; Loses Title

The day Landis climbed and climbed and climbed into first place and the winner of the Tour de France in 2006 is a lie. The process has spoken, no one believes his theory of the case, in fact according to the decision of the doping court "Appelant's experts crossed the line, acting for the most part as advocates for the Appelant's cause, and not as scientists objectively assisting the Panel in the search for truth" (sic). I have to believe in the system, sure everything could be corrupt, but even my conspiracy theory brain recognizes its more likely that one person is corrupt than multiple levels of an administrative and testing process are corrupt. I will apologize personally if Landis is an innocent victim in all this. For the moment I know that the fans are the ones being victimized-

That historic day as described in Wikipedia
"On the following day's Stage 17, Landis stunned the cycling world with a 120 km solo breakaway attack that has been called "one of the most epic days of cycling ever seen".[9] The performance earned Landis comparisons to the famed rides of Eddy Merckx. At one point on the course, he was 9 minutes 4 seconds clear of Pereiro. Landis ultimately won the stage by nearly six minutes over Team CSC's Carlos Sastre and took more than seven minutes out of Pereiro's lead. At the end of the day, Landis sat in third place overall, 18 seconds behind Sastre and just 30 seconds behind the Tour leader. The next stage was a 57 km individual time trial, and Landis' strength in time trialing put him well within striking distance of regaining the tour lead. Landis finished third in the time trial of Stage 19, 89 seconds ahead of Pereiro and 3 minutes 31 seconds ahead of Sastre, to reclaim the yellow jersey with a lead of 59 seconds. Landis retained the lead through Stage 20, the procession into Paris, to win the 2006 Tour de France by 57 seconds.." As a sports fan, that day was one of the greatest in sports history- to have it all questioned a week later, I can still conjure up the heartbreak of the day the allegations of testosterone use came out. We fans lost and continue to lose when cyclists dope and sponsors let them.

The Tour starts again on Saturday. Will I allow myself to be victimized again by this event I love so much? My favorites are all gone from the Tour- Basso, Hamilton, Landis, Ulrich, Mancebo, Boonen, Vino, Contador, Levi etc. They are gone- some legitimately disgraced because of doping, others because of the knee-jerk reaction of the governing body of the Tour. Lets face it no one is innocent- even I know my hyperbole surrounding the epic day in the 2006 Tour feeds cheaters, advertisers, sponsors and the sport itself- if that drama doesnt happen- will I still watch? I will, but maybe others will not.

A whole team is out of the Tour because of last year DESPITE practically everything about the team having changed since last year. Astana has last year's winner on it- Alberto Contador- so he is unable to defend his title because members of last year's team (he wasnt on it) got caught up in a doping scandal.

There are bright spots and I hope this is a clean month for the Tour so next year we can begin to put the scandals behind and focus on the REAL drama, hard work and emotion of this incredibly demanding race.

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