The folks at Trust But Verify yesterday linked to a Denver Post interview with three time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond regarding doping in professional cycling. Sadly, while LeMond brings up a number of viable concerns he also shows he is incapable of objectivity in the Floyd Landis matter.
LeMond goes on at length about Tyler Hamilton and Landis, pretty much demanding they confess to sins against the sport:
“Everybody’s entitled to defend themselves. But the reality is to go out into the public, like the Floyd Fairness Fund, and be asking people who are so gullible and who really don’t know what’s going on? I don’t know how, in a morally conscious way, that he’s able to do that.”
LeMond later demonstrates he has already judged Landis, and offered him psychological advice by telling him before the recent doping hearing:
“I told him, ‘Floyd, you may think you can get away and hide your lie, but it’s always there and it works on you and it works on you,”‘ LeMond said. “‘And in 15-20 years it manifests itself. It’s proven throughout psychotherapy and (with) psychologists and psychiatrists that trauma or lying or not being true to yourself has a dramatic effect on self- destructiveness.”‘
Lemond does not see himself as a bad guy…
“People misunderstand me,” LeMond said. “I’m not against Floyd. I’m not against Tyler. The only thing I’m against is a guy who’s not an honest person and who lives a façade, that he’s really not a good person. That’s my only issue with them. But Floyd and Tyler, you don’t see European riders who get busted and who go out on this PR campaign and try to tell everybody, ‘Believe in me.”‘
Finally, LeMond comes in for the crusher:
LeMond…believes in the French lab Landis is challenging. However, LeMond fears for the sport if Landis is proven innocent and the lab is put under heavy suspicion.
“I think if Floyd gets off because of a technicality,” LeMond said, “it would be a big blow to the anti-doping movement.”
Yep, wouldn’t want a little thing like innocence to get in the way of the movement.
LeMond is waltzing into the territory of being unethical if not a little unstable. At one edge, I feel sorry for him. He won in 1986 after fighting off a challenge from a teammate (Bernard Hinault) who was supposed to be helping him. LeMond got shot in 1987, and spent 1988 in continued recovery. He won the 1989 Tour by using bike sprint technology not previously used in the Tour to win the final time trial and propel himself into an 8 second lead. LeMond’s 1990 victory occured without his winning any stages.
Bottom line, LeMond was a champion without instant replay moments. None of his wins had a start to finish dominance of Lance Armstrong, nor did it have that signature stage win. Perhaps such is fertile ground for bitterness.
Are LeMond’s comments about dopiong in pro cycling accurate. Most likely. Nonetheless, LeMond has prejudged Landis-so much for any concern about due process. LeMond has effectively said there were no mistakes in the testing, despite the bulk of evidence at the Landis hearing that showed there was more than reasonable doubt that tests were not conducted properly, despite evidence of chicanery, and despite a wild variety of lab standards used to measure testosterone.
But nooooooooooooooooo, LeMond knows Landis is guilty. So certain, he apparently thinks the only way Landis can be cleared is through a “technicality”. He may not have noticed it, but technicalities crop up in life every day…from contracts to criminal trials. Technicalities are there to protect rights…unless you are 100% certain of something.
When LeMond takes a whack at Tyler Hamilton’s protestations, I can dig it. I have not seen the evidence that suggests that although the “false twin” effect exists, that Hamilton had it. Between the evidence at Landis’s trial and his accounts in his recent book, I think there is no clear certainty that Landis doped…and I wish Greg LeMond would stop prejudging his peers and let the process play out before adopting the role of sanctimonious sage and prosecutor he is suddently so comfortable in.
FOLLOW UP: This just in from Sara Best: The TdeF Greg LeMond Should Have Won. Like she says, until the mystery of the secret motorcycles is solved no one is safe.