Friday, July 28, 2006

DeTour de France?

"My opinion is when he comes on top of this everyone will think so much more of him. So that's what valleys are for, right?" Arlene Landis

I don't know about you, but as I watched Floyd Landis's sweet, devoted Mennonite mother interviewed from Farmersville, PA after his Tour de France victory, I thought, All right! A picture-perfect American success story.

Even though it's a reach, I was also pleased that Somebody, man or beast, in the vicinity of Philly, had finally won a sporting trophy.

And then the inevitable accusations. Steroid abuse. You could almost believe the rumors about Lance Armstrong, cancer or no, because how is it possible nobody in the whole wide world could beat this guy seven years in a row?

It seems Landis also has a physical handicap, a badly deteriorating right hip which will need surgery, and a thyroid condition. He even got waivers allowing him to take the anti-inflammatory steroid drug cortisone and his thyroid meds.

As it happens, I take both. If you need them, they work. If you don't, they can hype you up to the sky. People without thyroid disease abuse thyroid medication to lose weight and boost energy. Landis got cortisone shots directly into his hip, but the drug also moves into your bloodstream, and when it hits, you feel pain-free and filled with zip.

You'd think the Tour de France medical team would have tested Landis even more carefully before and after issuing those waivers. And the cycling world is so notorious for doping, why is there such a last-minute brouhaha now, after the fact? Kind of makes you wonder if it's some kind of French-inspired anti-American thing.

The jury's still out until they finish the testing on Landis's "B" Sample. But it seems a foregone conclusion this guy's gonna come out on the wrong end of the spokes.

Win or lose, Floyd Landis is a tainted athlete. While Barry Bonds laughs all the way to the bank.



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