International Cycling’s Crisis of Confidence

Disgraced former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis’  used the WSJ to air a sudden about-face admission that he used performance enhancing drugs. The internet is buzzing with these charges, not because we’re surprised to hear that Landis was a doper but because he’s fingering Lance Armstrong and other former teammates as fellow dopers.

Armstrong fired back quickly and vigorously, correctly attacking Landis for his contradictory actions and statements. This is a good rapid response. By responding within a very short news cycle he quickly turned the storyline from being about the accusations to being about Landis’ lack of credibility.

But the sport of cycling is facing a much broader crisis and the Landis matter makes it much worse. Clearly Landis is a man who has decided he’s tired of living his own lie, and tired of keeping secrets. It’s one thing to attack his credibility, it’s another thing to face down a full-fledged investigation with subpoena powers. I think that’s where this is going. It’s not an accident that these allegations came out during the Amgen Tour of California, the closest thing the US has to a European-level international cycling event. Don’t be surprised to see Congress or some other investigative body calling certain cycling teams into account for themselves, just like they did with Major League Baseball.

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