Last night, at nearly the same place on the trail, I pulled off to spend an hour looking at and trying to listen to Floyd Landis. Instead of defending his Tour d’France title, he’s out signing copies of his new book, Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour d’France. A much larger crowd than I expected, maybe 300 people, were at Third Place Books to ask questions, get reassurances, and have their books signed by this diminished champion.
His case on doping has been an outrageous, bewildering spectacle, much of it badly managed by Landis himself, with odd excuses and unseemliness. Last year, I compared Landis’s integrity to a wheel that’s lost its true. I think that he’s made some valid arguments that improvements in lab protocols are in order, and that professional cyclists deserve protections from the leaking of test results. It, however, does not answer how one ends up with two tests with synthetics in the bloodstream.
The biggest applause of the night was when Landis hinted that the lab work was part of L’Grande French Conspiracy. Not only does this attitude show a ridiculous provincialism, but it also undermines the professionalism of lab workers. Like the cyclist’s desire to win the race, I imagine that the lab scientist is driven toward the truth of science and in a job done well. Why would a lab or lab researcher expose themselves to the same ridiculous costs of a law suit if they were not certain of their work?
While most of us can’t quite fathom the difficulty of the Tour, we’ve all had lab work done. We’ve watched vials of our blood labeled, seen blood spinning in centrifuges, and gotten test results. Mine are always reasonable and what I’d expect. Sometimes the cholesterol is a little high, but no one has ever suggested that I have synthetics in my blood. I’ve never gotten a call from anyone I know with an unexpected synthetic results. Not once. I’ve never even heard of someone I know with bad lab results of any kind. I know it happens, as planes crash and people get hit by lightening. It is in the same category in my mind.
This is what Landis is up against. The result of synthetics unexpectedly found in one’s blood boggles the mind of folks like me.
A shout out to Biking Bis, where I saw that this event was happening and was easy to stop by on my ride home from work. He blogs consistently on cycling news both locally and nationally, including bike touring, a bit of racing results, and community action.
It was not a blood test, it was a urine test.
How can we be expected to take your opion as more than just uninformed gibberish if you can’t even get the basic facts right?
It is not just a lab error, it is lab malfeasance; Falsified documents, deleted data, withholding evidence, etc.
You really don’t understand the depths of the problems, do you?
It is not just about Floyd, it is about any/every athlete that is forced to pee in a cup. The system does not work. Guilty until “proven” innocent,the lab is assumed to have done everything perfectly, the burden is on the athlete to disprove an erroneous result (without any right to documentation) and a system of lab workers/mgr’s who are prohibited from even speaking out about a problem if it might make another lab or test look suspect even if they are right….yeah, that sounds reasonable.
Why don’t you spend some time digging into the issues before making overly simplistic comparisons to your cholesterol tests or your assumption that there was something “Synthetic” in Floyd’s blood (or as the rest of us know it was a urine test)?