What does it say about the sport of pro cycling when the voice of its conscience is Floyd Landis? Landis was back in the news, giving his pointed views on Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Team Sky.
The whiskey-drinking, testosterone abuser who had his 2006 Tour de France titled stripped is now a vocal critic of doping and the UCI’s and WADA’s inability to do anything meaningful.
There’s an comedic irony in a man who started a marijuana business in Leadville, Colorado, being the a strong voice of cleaning up the sport. Landis is sort of like Greg Lemond with a joint in his hand. Their both purists and they both had a leading role in destroying the legend of Lance Armstrong.
Now, Landis has taken aim at Sir Brad, Froomey and Sky team manager David Brailsford and his assessment was brutal and damning. Specifically, he referenced a claim made in the Select Committee’s report that Wiggins and perhaps other Sky riders were using triamcinolone, a powerful corticoid, to lose weight and boost strength before the Tour de France.
“They used it for performance enhancement and there’s no ambiguity there,” said Landis. “Wiggins should lose his Tour title. I can’t see how the sport authorities can let it slide. You can’t take them seriously if they don’t act. There’s a report right there for them, and for me WADA have no choice but to suspend him and take his title away. If they were legitimate, that’s what they’d do.”
According the Mad Mennonite, the anti-doping authorities in the sports are just as guilty as Wiggins. “He should tell the truth now because it’s only going to get worse. It’s bad, but it’s going to get worse,” said Landis. “What he should do is come out and say the truth, that the whole anti-doping thing is a charade.” Doped, duped, duplicitous — it all runs together, doesn’t it?
Next up, Landis took aim at Froome for his adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug salbutamol and Brailsford for lying all the way round. “I don’t think a few of the guys like Froome and Brailsford realize how fucking smug and contemptible they look,” said Landis. “They think that they come off looking smart, but they just look like the biggest assholes on Earth. They thought they were on top of the world and they thought it was all fun and games but Brailsford, no one is ever going to trust that guy again.”
Like him or hate him, the man has a point. When there’s this much smoke, there’s a fire. When you connect all the dots, there’s a pattern of unethical behavior from Sky, the supposed clean team of cycling that always does things the “right way.” From the Jiffy Bad to the testosterone patches to missing medical files to a team doctor who conveniently had his laptop stolen with all the medical files inside to Froome’s salbutamol debacle, it would to had to argue this is just a one-off or aberration.
You can understand why Landis looks at Sky’s “zero tolerance” doping policy and falls off the chair laughing. “This has to be the end of the team,” said Landis. “I’m 100 per cent sure that there will not be a Sky team at the Tour de France this year. The little pieces add up and no one with more than two brain cells would add it all up and conclude that it was all just coincidental.”
Tour Boss Christian Prudhoome might be thinking the exact same thing. He’s getting more frustrated and angry by the day. “This is crazy,” Prudhomme told a French TV channel. “What we want is an answer. Not just for the Tour de France, but all organizers. That there is a [cyclist] who is at the start line who might later be told he shouldn’t be there. It’s completely farcical. We need an answer.”
Landis already knows the story it’s the same one, on endless repeat, before and after Team Sky. “It’s all going to happen again,” he said. “One team will be taken down and then another team will pop up, from a country with new fans who don’t know what cycling is really like. They’ll yell and scream and there will be a bunch of drugs and it’ll be the same old fucking story.”
Landis is dead right. To think otherwise, you’d having to be smoking something.