It's usually bad policy for me to react to something that I'm passionate about before sitting on it and having a think. But that's what is going to happen now, so you've been warned:
I think Floyd Landis is a good person who f'ed up. I believe the content of those emails is truthful and accurate. I think he's probably doing this out of a combination of guilt and unfairness. Guilt because he brought too many good and honest people along with his lies. And the unfairness is that too many other cheaters are getting away with it while leading happy and successful lives. His happiness and success were taken away from him and while that in itself may be fair, it's completely unfair and arbitrary that others of the same ilk or still being worshiped as heroes. So, how can I see him as a good person? Because I can see how the sequence of events could lead to him making the decision to dope. If he had successful, charismatic people mentoring him and showing him the ropes, it's easy to see how he would follow that path, especially when you consider that it may have been the 'norm' in that era. If everyone you are racing against is doping, is it still cheating? Cheating means getting an unfair advantage - what if you're just trying to level the playing field? These arguments are nothing new and I'm not condoning his actions, but I can understand how it happened and I don't think that every doper is a POS. Most are, though. :) Especially now when it seems as though cycling is making a concerted effort to clean up the sport.
So what are my emotions this morning?
Anger. I'm pissed (like Landis) that people are out there cheating (or have cheated) and racing their bikes and having successes. I'm angry that I am sitting here at home in my athletic prime and not in Italy or California racing though I never knowingly cheated in my life.
Fear. I'm worried about our sport. How is this going to affect sponsorship? How will cycling be viewed by the masses? Will people realize that doping is rampant in EVERY sport where significant money is at stake but that cycling goes further than perhaps any other sport to rid cheaters from the ranks?
Pride. I'm proud of the fact that I have achieved all that I did with a clean body and conscience. Who knows how many people who have beaten me over the years have done so dirty. However, I have thought about the possibility that whatever was found in my system did illegally enhance my performance but then I think about the facts surrounding my test. Tour of Utah TT victory, negative urine test - 8 days later USPro TT I was blown out of the water, pos. urine test. I don't think there was much performance enhancement happening that day.
So there you go. That's my reaction to the latest scandal to hit our wonderful sport. My stomach has been in knots all morning thinking about it and part of me hopes that Landis will be shooed aside as a disgruntled, lying cheater. That way we can go on thinking that the world is just and fair - that those who cheat get caught and those who don't get to go for the glory.