The news is out this morning that Floyd Landis’ B sample has confirmed the adverse reaction of the A sample from his Stage 17 victory in the Tour de France. Landis maintains his innocence:
I have never taken any banned substance, including testosterone. I was the strongest man in the Tour de France, and that is why I am the champion,’ said Landis. ‘I will fight these charges with the same determination and intensity that I bring to my training and racing. It is now my goal to clear my name and restore what I worked so hard to achieve.
We want to believe that our heroes are telling the truth. It maintains our belief system in the world. Hearing events such as these shatters our mental model of the world, making us doubt future achievements in the sporting world. I still maintain that something is fishy in this case, and I will continue to let Landis prove that he was the rightful winner of the 2006 Tour de France. Next up in this case is arbitration to the high court of sports, the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Tyler Hamilton tried to get his doping case thrown out and failed. Will Landis succeed any better?
It’s just an unfortunate situation for all parties. Even if Landis proves that he did nothing wrong, his reputation and credibility are shot. The Tour suffers because it’s the first time in the 103-year history of the race that the winner has been thrown out for doping. No one seems to win, not even Oscar Pereiro, the runner-up in this year’s Tour and former teammate of Landis who would be declared the victor if Landis loses his case:
I have too much respect for Landis to do otherwise… In any case, I have a bittersweet feeling because it is bad news for cycling, and I would prefer to remain second and that they don’t confirm the positive.