Floyd Landis, by his own admission, is a liar and a cheat. He was caught out in one of the most brazen and poorly thought through doping attempts in the history of professional cycling.
He spent four years stridently denying any wrongdoing, spending a small fortune defending indefensible claims. He unfairly criticized the testing laboratory, the people doing the testing, the UCI, and anyone else who dared speak out against him. He accused cycling officials of being corrupt and everyone else of being incompetent. Never did he attempt any form of introspection.
He had a band of fervent followers, possessed of a disciple like devotion to the complex web of fiction that Landis had built around the doping incident. He wrote a book, “Positively False”, which has left libraries the world over with the rather awkward problem of finding space on the fiction shelves.
But now we are supposed to believe that his conscience has got the better of him and that he wants to make amends for his wrongdoings, by exposing all of the terrible things and terrible people that made him do what he did.
In other words, it’s payback time.
Landis has spared no-one, but principle amongst those in his sights is the man that the whole cycling world has been after for the best part of a decade—Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong has one of the most compelling stories in sport. His battle with cancer, his near death experience, and his recovery to dominate cycling’s toughest test has an almost fairy tale quality. The only problem is that while everyone loves a fairy tale, no-one really believes them.
Armstrong has been one of the most targeted athletes in the history of cycling. There is an almost universal belief that he must have been on the juice at some point, and that he’s just been too clever to get caught.
Now the authorities have another opportunity to probe Armstrong and they have an excuse to do it at a time when he has to have his focus elsewhere. He is now reportedly at the centre of a federal investigation in the US and the International Cycling Union (UCI) has come out and unnecessarily stated that he will get no special treatment from them.
What is most galling about this renewed investigation is not that it’s going ahead. If there is credible new evidence then it must be followed through. The problem is that Landis’ shotgun approach of blaming everyone who has ever slighted him is being taken seriously.
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has taken the word of a pathological liar and is trying to build a case around that evidence. Even if they succeed in building a case, Landis has to be the least credible witness in history, how could they possible convict on the back of that.
Armstrong's lawyer has strenuously denied that any investigation is underway, however the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has confirmed that they are assisting the USADA probe.
Either way, Landis wins. If USADA manage to build a case that is strong enough to impeach Armstrong, Landis is vindicated and has gone some way to redeeming himself (in some circles at least). If USADA cannot make its case, then Landis has managed to overshadow Armstrong’s swansong.
USADA has given oxygen to a man who deserves none. Landis should be ignored and his ramblings be treated with the contempt that they deserve. To give any credence to his claims is to ignore everything that he has done and is tantamount to absolution and Floyd Landis is not worthy of that.