The web, sports, and cycling world is buzzing as the initial story breaks and as more details trickle in. Since the story broke and since we posted it here earlier, there are have been responses from the likes of Lance Armstrong, Jonathan Vaughters, and former Phonak owner Andy Rihs.
In addition, to illustrate how cycling fans have responded, in the past 18 h over 1316 posts on the Cyclingnews.com forum on this topic. The responses there cover everything from legal strategies to support for Landis to support for Armstrong. So far it has all remained pretty civil, amazingly!
Strength in numbers – n = 1
A common hope is that now Landis has owned up, another cyclist that was named or part of USPS during that era will also now own up. Tyler Hamilton is the name most feel is in the best position to also admit, but the key is that many think without physical evidence Landis’s claims will be quashed by the infamous Armstrong PR machine. Already, Sally Jenkins published a text that begins to deflect the spotlight from the athletes and instead asks more philosophical questions.
So the fans are all hoping that Landis’s admission will in some way encourage at least one other cyclist, current or former, to speak out and break the omerta. Whether or not this is the case is anyone’s guess, but this is the optimistic opinion.
No credibility for Floyd
On the other side, the pessimists point out that Landis lost much credibility over the past few years by denying to no end that he doped. Placed against the well-known PR machine behind Armstrong, these fans are sure that Landis’s claims will be easily quashed and the status quo will remain.
The latest info of sorts comes from Neil Brown, writing for Versus.com. He claims to have spoken to Landis directly this morning, and Landis says the email was leaked to the media without his knowledge. Ok, fair enough, we all know how easy it is to hit the “Forward,” after all. The interesting and newer info:
- Landis alleges Amrstrong knew about the emails from Landis to USA Cycling
- Armstrong allegedly contacted Landis’s friend and sponsor Dr. Brent Kay, and made veiled threats about revoking Kay’s medical license
- Landis responded by telling Armstrong to stay away from his friends and rather deal directly with him
- On 5 May Landis wrote to Armstrong:
“As you certainly know I’ve been living with a very complex situation for the last four years and have been, for my own sake and for the sake of my former friends and peers, misleading the public about the truth about performance enhancing drug use in cycling about which I have first-hand knowledge. My only goal in enlightening the public and the press regarding these matters is to clear my conscience and thereafter be able to sleep at night.
He said/he said
Of course right now this is still a “My word against yours” scenario, and one can only hope that Landis does indeed have some stronger evidence to back up his claims. If not, and if no one helps corroborate his story, he will quickly be discredited, and will add the title “Sore Loser” to his “Doper” label.
In the meantime the discussion rolls on, and if you have not yet read the Cyclingnews.com thread, you should do so as it will provide you with all the different arguments for and against all sides of the debate. For now we will continue to watch it unfold, and provide our insight and analysis in due course.