I went down to Amazon today and listened to Floyd Landis talk about his new book, Positively False. He gave a good talk, which the crowd loved (as did I). When this whole story broke last year, I thought he was probably innocent and hearing him made that belief more entrenched.
Why? In addition to the oddities with the lab, there are a lot of other funny things about his positive test. First, testosterone? Why? Second, could it make that much of a difference in one day? Unlikely. Third, there are some other explanations for his “superhuman” performance—which he described.
For instance, he said by the last day of the race, everyone in the peloton is so miserable that they just want the race to end. Especially on a hilly stage. This explains, in part, why he was able to get such a big break. Also, he said it’s not uncommon to bounce back a day after a bonk (which is what occurred the previous day.) True that. We’ve seen it again and again in the Tour. His achievement looks much less “superhuman” if you take these factors into account.
Putting aside the doping scandal, he had some other insights. He said that “by the end of the Tour, everyone is miserable. Winning only makes you slighly less miserable.” This is too funny. I remember a guy on my team (another master) telling me that he’d won some races and “it wasn’t worth it.” I didn’t understand viscerally until I won a race—a 60-mile, hilly road race, in fact. It was so painful! I got to the finish line and while I wanted to shout in exultation—and did—I also started to cry. I was so glad it was over. I can only imagine what it feels like to finish the Tour. Ouch.