June 30, 2008
Landis loses final appeal
No one has done a better job following the Floyd Landis case than David Brower, Bill Hue, and a gaggle of interested commenters and guest posters over at Trust But Verify. Today, with the announcement that Floyd Landis has lost his final appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, Hue offers a fitting coda to the Landis circus:
Floyd is my hero because in the face of the biggest travesties of “justice” I have ever seen, he stood proud, determined, true to himself and his family and did not bow to those who define “the game” by making its rules, prosecuting those deemed to violate those rules and then stack the deck with those responsible to judge those “violations”. He made them work for it and we are all the beneficiaries of his efforts even though he ultimately derived no benefit, whatsoever.
I go back and forth on the ultimate question of Floyd's guilt or innocence, but I absolutely agree that the rush by organizers and WADA to be tougher and tougher on drugs has trampled the ideals of fair play, sportsmanship, and athletes' rights. It's unfortunate the riders don't have the leverage to create something akin to the major league baseball players' union.
Landis was also ordered to pay $100,000 toward the US Anti-Doping Agency's legal costs. He is eligible to return to racing in January 2009, just in time for the Tour of California, but I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) he would be subject to the no-UCI-teams-for-2-additional-years proviso (assuming there's still a UCI in 2009).
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"the rush by organizers and WADA to be tougher and tougher on drugs has trampled the ideals of fair play, sportsmanship, and athletes' rights."
Yeah, well, if junkies like Landis would just fess up when caught cold then the whole thing wouldn't look so rough to some. The junkies have caused this problem. The cyclists who have paid more heed to omerta than to the sport's rules have fuelled this problem. CAS, WADA, USADA, judicial authorities and (at last) the UCI are the ones who have to try to put back together the sport the junkies broke. But blame the junkies, not the authorities.
Hopefully this is the last we'll hear of Landis, but somehow I doubt it. He's got at least one more appeal in him, probably to an American court whining that the Europeans picked on him. And even before that case is hear he'll be back on his bike and racing alongside Tyler Hamilton come Spring next year.
Posted by: harry at Jun 30, 2008 3:27:50 PM
I think that he needs to let it go, remember that he needs to do the right thing for the sport, and become part of the clean future rather than the dirty past. He had choices, he made poor decisions.
Posted by: steph at Jun 30, 2008 6:22:01 PM
Another innocent man convicted in a railroad station, with tainted, falsified "proof" being presented in a need to save the sport from further self-inflicted damage. A simple rush to judgement. The Tour de France is like the rest of France - without principal or ethics. Typical of soocialist states. Landis is the 21st century version of Bruno Haufman, found guilty in the Little Lindberg kidnapping case to save face for the government agencies. A government's need to "solve" a case, whether or not the person on trial is innocent or guilty. This whole sherade might just as well have taken place in the Islamist world. Same tactics, guilty if necessary.
Posted by: wesley at Jun 30, 2008 6:57:43 PM
I remember watching him break on the mountain. Then speed up the mountain the very next day. If he really was a clean rider he would have been consistent like my boy Robbie McEwen.
Posted by: Blayer at Jul 1, 2008 11:07:19 AM
I wanted to believe Floyd, and I thought the inconsistencies in the lab's procedures that were reported were significant. I haven't read all of these decisions, and do not know if they'll be public, but it would seem that responsible people agree with Pound, Prudhomme and the rest of the wild attack dogs that Floyd cheated.
I do remember Floyd's aggressive stage-winning celebration and subsequent shoving of a Phonak security guard who tried to shield Floyd from some fans just after he got out of the saddle beyond the finish line, and thought the actions suspicious for a guy who should be completely exhausted after that performance on that stage.
All that said, this year's TdF without Astana is disappointing, and another inconsistent cycling ruling.
Posted by: Jeff at Jul 1, 2008 6:32:58 PM
" It's unfortunate the riders don't have the leverage to create something akin to the major league baseball players' union "
There is, but it not a strong union and has almost no power.
Google "AIGCP" which stands for "Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels"
Posted by: chasd at Jul 2, 2008 2:32:23 PM
@Chasd: I'm aware of the AIGCP, but it seems more akin to high school or college student governments than it does to a collective bargaining labor organization like the modern US pro sports unions.
Like student governments everywhere, it seems its main purpose is to allow those who really run things the useful fiction that they're consulting the riders on how things are run. Actual concrete impact? Negligible, as you say.
Posted by: Frank at Jul 2, 2008 5:45:42 PM
Lost in this debate -- even considering the sketchiness of the lab and politics -- is that the second, much more scientific test proved there was testosterone.
Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 6, 2008 12:31:55 PM
Yeah, well, if junkies like Landis would just fess up when caught cold then the whole thing wouldn't look so rough to some.
Wise counsel. If only everybody accused of anything were to follow it, we could avoid all these expensive trials, appeals, etc...
Now please report to your local police station; I have a sneaking suspicion you may have been involved in a recent burglary.
Posted by: ibc at Jul 7, 2008 9:41:53 AM
How can someone be clean on day 1, test positive for drugs on day 2, and then test clean again on day 3?
Posted by: EdO at Jul 10, 2008 12:14:47 PM
Anyone inside cycling knew he doped and should have followed Lemond's advise to fess up. He has done more damage to the sport than any organization. Of course, you no longer need to go back and forth about if he doped or not.
Posted by: Patrick at May 25, 2010 11:44:37 PM