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The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking

Landis Timeline

Latest Edit – July 2010

Landis just keeps on giving.

Be Aware

This was written before Landis came clean and seems to have taken down most of US cycling’s credibility also.

Landis in yellow at the back of the Phonak train

Landis in yellow at the back of the Phonak train

The greatest annual sports event in the world is on at the moment – the Tour de France has more people see it wind its way through France than will see any other event in person. The Tour, and indeed cycle racing in general, is much beloved of The Inquisition but it must be recognised that the stories which garner the most attention are those of the bad boys. The public has heard of Floyd Landis but has no idea of who Oscar Pereiro. C’est la vie…

So often with sport, and cycling in particular, doping is the news story. This is often said to be a problem of the lesser figures in the Peloton, but this lie was shown up in stark contrast by the 2006 Tour de France. Frankie Andreu, Lance Armstrong’s one-time colleague until being caught doping with EPO, discusses the wider issue of doping: “Do you really think that domestiques are doping but the captains or leaders of teams are not? If this were the case the domestiques would be winning all the time and the others would be in the back of the pack.”

The Inquisition is not going to interrupt the morbid fascination of sports journalism, so lets discuss Floyd Landis and some doping options there were open to him.

Early Days

Landis was brought up a Mennonite and left the fold to pursue a career which was incompatible with this outlook – professional bicycle racer. He began by racing mountain bikes, even becoming US National Champion. On moving to road racing he was hand picked to drag Lance Armstrong around France. Fast forward to 2006 and Landis was a happy little cycling man while leading the UCI ProTour points going into the Tour de France.

Build-up to the 2006 Edition of the Tour

In early 2006 Spanish Police raided the laboratory of Dr Eufemanio Fuentes as part of an investigation named Operacion Puerto. This would topple some of the sports biggest names, and Tour Favourites, including Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, who would be forced from the Tour at the opening stage. Enter Floyd Landis.

You can just see the honesty in his eyes can't you?

You can just see the honesty in his eyes can't you?

Prologue to Stage 16 (Saturday, July 1 – Monday, July 17)

Landis was motoring – he had been in the yellow jersey off and on, ending stage 15 in yellow and leading by 10 seconds over Oscar Pereiro, who would become the eventual winner by default. Along the way he revealed he had a degenerative bone disease. He let his main rival Oscar Pereiro take a 30 min advantage one day, just to win it back by ten seconds and then lose a further eight minutes the next day. They were trading blows daily, but he looked happy in yellow, didn’t he? Well, kind of.

Stage 17

One stage stands out in stark contrast. The man who had claimed arthrithic pains led a solo attack for 120km across 5 mountain tops and finished with a lead of 5 minutes. He would later add fuel to the fires of incredulity (pretty poetic phrase isn’t it?) by claiming he was out drinking the night before, and that his hungover state caused his testosterone levels to soar. Or just maybe he was in his hotel getting some good old fashioned synthetic testosterone into himself. That by the way is the key – it was synthetic. Maybe he loves gay sex with robots?

Finishing in Paris

Landis consolidated his lead in the final time trial and arrived victorious in Paris, taking the top honours on the podium.

Results on July 27th

Three days later Landis’ Phonak team were informed of his failed anti-doping control from stage 16. Synthetic testosterone was found in his system. The Tour organisers provisionally strip landis of his title.

Denial (same day)

Landis immediately called a conference and made a weird denial: “I declare convincingly and categorically that my winning the Tour de France has been exclusively due to many years of training and my complete devotion to cycling.” It wasn’t really convincing to anyone but Landis himself.

More Results

The next few weeks unfolded the doping details of the story – NY Times broke the story that it was synthetic testosterone and days later his B sample confirmed this.

Further Denials

After the Phonak team collapsed Landis went on the “charm” offensive insisting on his innocence and asking for his hearing to be public so we could all see he wasn’t a little sneaky shit. The charm offensive went on overdrive when he posted hundreds of pages of data online. Landis and his (legal) team began to tour the US talking to anyone who will listen (and give money too of course) and pay his legal bills. At this point Landis was more concerned with public opinion than the informed opinions of the anti-doping bodies. He covered himself in patriotic glory when he claimed, repeatedly, it was all French lies because they hate the Americans. Of course, we have all heard that one before.

The Really Mad Bits

Now things got crazy. A hacker, who it was later alleged was allied to Landis, hacked into the testing lab and sent out inflammatory emails with schoolboy grammatical French errors (note to Floyd – get French hackers next time) and also retrieved confidential information. Cheeky Landis put out a crap book and appeared at races, as a spokesman for a prosthesis manufacturer!

It wasn’t looking good when Greg Le Mond testified against Floyd at the USADA hearing so Landis lovely manager decides to do what any one in their right mind would do and threaten LeMond. He tells Greg he will go public with the confidential, and true, information that Greg LeMond was sexually abused a s a child. Lovely. This manager goes one better and rings LeMond pretending to be his abuser.

USADA found against our boy Floyd in his hearing and his appeal.

Landis is now back in a professional team as if nothing happened.

The Last Word

Alarmed by the testosterone levels discovered American anti-doping offical, Dick Pound, spoke out :”You’d think he’d be violating every virgin within 100 miles. How does he even get on his bicycle?”

Other Options

Testosterone helps your body regenerate, especially after muscle depleting exercise. This is good but the Inquisition wouldn’t want Landis to miss out on anything so here is a list of other options on the menu.

Pros – You get bigger quickly.
Cons – Its said to shrink your willy, plus you get a lot of spots and anger management issues.

Pros – It raises your general heart rate thereby raising your performance and making you feel charged, lifting your performance even further.
Cons – It appears to be a gateway drug after the experience of many ex-pros, leading to spiralling drug abuse and often-times suicide. Can also kill you when taken at a bad time as part of a cocktail.

Caffeine Pills
Pros – Very few really. It lifts your heart rate a little.
Cons – The UCI doesn’t frown on caffeine so much anymore. You could drink a coffee so why would you want to put a little pill up your bottom?

Pros – reduces pain and inflammation enabling the user to really beat the crap out of themselves
Cons – easily detected, as your leave injures and muscles unhealed you’ll be screwed later in life.

Pros – This drug is aimed at increasing red blood cells in hospital patients. Of course it also does that for athletes who want to increase oxygen flow to their muscles. Used to be undetectable.
Cons – detectable

Pros – Purely recreational
Cons – Not a great idea for an elite athlete with a cavernous heart. Beware of indirect consumption which is apparently a side-effect of drinking alcohol.

Rough Ride, Paul Kimmage, Yellow Jersey Press, 2007

Blazing Saddles, Matt Rendell, Quercus, 2007
Sign on San Diego break news on hacking
Outside Away
ESPN coverage
The Daily Peloton
Further ESPN coverage
Landis article found somewhere
NY Times
The beer theory
ESPN as always

This article was posted by on Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 17:15.
It is archived in Bicycles, History, Sport and tagged , , , , , , .

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