I have not been overly engaged on Landis-gate, mostly for lack of time (work, visiting family, two big races left). Part of the problem is that I have little patience for the endless ambiguity in the science, and prefer to move on to what we do know, professing agnosticism to the rest.
For those of you who do have the time and inclination, this site has been transformed by everyone else here but me into a wellspring of information. Between the posts and the links supplied, you could start here and emerge 700 hours later with enough knowledge to qualify for a degree in sports medicine. Thanks to all of you for your efforts!
Meanwhile, long before you get through the info here, and possibly before I finish this sentence, the other shoe is poised to drop on Floyd Landis and co. As we prepare for the next round of madness, let's take a quick look at what we do know about this sorry tale...
on the flip:
- We know that a grave crime has been committed, possibly the most dramatic in the history of the sport. The yellow jersey itself is at stake -- a matter without precedent since that scofflaw Delgado slipped by on a technicality in 1988. True, one of the blanks to be filled in is whether Floyd Landis is the perpetrator or the victim of this crime, a detail not to be overlooked. But even without clarifying this point, we know that this affair will not be downgraded to a simple, forgettable misunderstanding.
- We also can say with (IMHO) some comfort that the future of Cycling is not on the chopping block. Sure, when the B-sample comes back positive as everyone seems to expect, we will hear from any number of Kent Brockman characters confirming the end of civilization as we know it. But ask yourself, how long after the Tour kicked out four of the top five finishers from last year did you get drawn back in by the racing? Enough people can understand that Cycling, unlike other sports, is taking this problem head-on, ensuring the messiest as well as the most effective possible result. And there will be future busts, more Operacion Puerco fallout, and so forth, but each time a rider is excluded, the sport gets cleaner. Someday we are bound to reach a tipping point, where nobody thinks doping is worth the risk.
- Finally, we know that no matter what happens, the end result will be completely muddled and unsatisfying. If the worst fears are confirmed, expect Landis and his team to deny it to his dying breath... admission might just be too expensive here. In the best case, Landis' B-sample will get tossed, and the results of Landis' magnificent* victory forever enshrined in Tour legacy... but the whispers will follow him forever. Perhaps the most likely scenario is even more confusing: the B is positive but gets tossed out in the CAS. People here and elsewhere can ultimately review the evidence and declare themselves satisfied that Floyd is guilty, or not, but for most of us the questions will always hang in the air, and the only certainty will be uncertainty.
I for one have moved on into full-time worship of Damiano Cunego.
[*denotes possibility it wasn't magnificent]