Floyd Landis has admitted to doping, and in a dramatic break with the omerta of cycling, named names. Names like Armstrong, Leipheimer and Zabriskie. And I believe Landis. And I’m not the least surprised.
Pro cycling is dead to me, morally and ethically bankrupt. What they do is no longer fantastic, that stopped definitively for me when Ivan Basso was busted for doping. Yes, I know he never tested positive or admitted to doing anything wrong, only intent, but I must say I don’t care. He was not the hero I once thought.
I believe you can’t reliably place in the top 10 in the general classification in a grand tour without being a doper.
Pro cycling have a long tradition for doping, and I think you could replace “Floyd Landis” in the title of this post with any other grand tour winner since forever. Only there wasn’t any rules against doping before some time in the early 60’ies of course.
The reason it has become like this is that to get to the top you must live and breathe your sport from a relatively young age, and then after many years you get a lucky break and go pro, and, at least if you’re good, start earning enough money that you can afford the $10k/year + logistics you need for a doping programme like what Floyd Landis was on. Can you say no to living the dream? Because that’s the question you think you’re answering when you are introduced to doping.
I believe some people are smart enough to answer the right question, to say “no” to cheating, because that is what it is about. And that is absolutely wonderful, and I wish to support those people as much as I can, but how do I distinguish them from the dopers?
I can’t, because the doping control is not good enough, and they all say they’re clean, or at least that they “… never tested positive.” And that’s the tragedy.
Addendum: This is not to say that the doping controls should be stricter, I think the whereabouts system is draconian enough as it is. The incentive to cheat should just be removed, and I have absolutely no clue about how to do that.