This is not what I wanted to hear when I heard that one rider tested positive during the Tour de France last week. Floyd Landis tested a positive A sample following the 17th stage, when he single-handlely decimated the peloton and rode himself back into contention.
I’m still siding with Floyd on this one, and here’s my explanation of the situation. Medical science and testing still cannot explain seemingly superhuman feats of athletic achievement. Two weeks ago, Rae and I watched Wired to Win, the IMAX movie on the Tour de France and the brain’s ability for adaptation. The movie originally was supposed to focus on Tyler Hamilton, but that plan got thrown out the window when he tested positive in the Vuelta. Focusing instead on Baden Cooke and Jimmy Casper, the movie explained how the brain wires and rewires itself after every experience and challenge.
For Landis, the effort he put into Stage 17 must have affected his body in ways that scientific tests would categorize as potential doping. I believe in the power of the mind to push the body to heights not normally attainable, and I want to believe that this is what happened to Landis. The thought of him shooting up in the middle of the night (following his beer and press conference) doesn’t jive with me.
There’s got to be another reason, and I speak for nearly everyone in saying we’re on pins and needles awaiting more information.
Wait, there’s one more thing. Landis got this little sidebar mention that he won the Tour on all the major US news sites last weekend. One reason is surely Tiger Woods’ 11th Major Win at the British Open. Now, when he’s accused of doping, guess what Floyd gets? Not a little sidebar, but a front-page photo and headline. Gotta love the sports media here.
Listen to today’s press conference with Floyd Landis on VeloNews.com.