Friday, July 28, 2006

It truly is sad...

...when the pressure to win gets this great.

Yes, I am aware that there has been one previous instance where an athlete was able to prove a "fail" result for testosterone could occur as a result of competition. I expect that if the B Sample is also positive, that Landis will use a similar defence.

There are, however, two very heavy facts that will weigh against him.

First is the spectacular reversal of form within 24 hours from "spat out the back" to "unprecedented solo ride". Comparison with the break-off of a couple days prior (the group of four that went out) is totally invalid. A group of four has a totally different dynamic to a man alone. I doubt that any future pelo will allow a break out like that to occur ever again (well not for a very long time). I have no doubt that form reversal by Landis would be number one in the officials minds when they selected random samples.

Second is the fact that ICU have been under intense pressure for some years (like about 15 years) to clean up the sport at all levels. Their attitude and commitment to getting the drug cheats out has improved from totally deplorable to barely acceptable. Any sign that the ICU is going to back out of this one on Landis will be a major blow to any small amount of credibility that they have at present.

The Olympic govenors reportedly gave ICU the hard word after Sydney, and the policing at Athens was fair.

It looks a good chance that Landis will be the biggest to fall in cycling thus far. That is sad indeed.

Sad because I have no doubt he is a top rider, and deserves to be where he is (without the chemical assistance). I was tempted to write "was" in here. Then I remember the comeback that Armstrong made and left "is" in its place.

Sad because the pressure to win (either personal or team pressure) pushed him past the limit of acceptable action.

Sad because the only likely saviour now is a negative result from the B sample.

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