Floyd Landis' plans to attend anti-doping conference in Australia stir controversy
Leave it to Floyd Landis to kick up more dust. This time it is because he plans to participate in an anti-doping conference next week near Melbourne, Australia. At least one cyclist -- Australian Simon Gerrans -- is hoping Landis goes away.“I hope they get him at customs and send him back to where he came from,” Gerrans told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Landis was disgraced after winning the 2006 Tour de France, when he tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone. He denied taking anything, and even wrote a book professing his innocence despite those test results, and despite those test results' being upheld.
Then last spring he suddenly admitted he had lied about being clean. The book he wrote in which he continued to insist he was clean -- well, that seemed of little importance. Now, he said, he was telling the truth. Not only that, but he accused former teammates, including Lance Armstrong, of systematic drug use and blood doping while they all rode for the now-defunct U.S. Postal Service team.
Those accusations are now part of a grand jury investigation here in Los Angeles.
Landis has angered a lot of people since once you lie so publicly it is hard to make people believe you won't lie again.
“'I'm a bit surprised that anyone organizing an anti-doping conference around world championships would invite someone who is going to bring so much negative publicity,'' Gerrans said. “'There are probably plenty of guys out there [who] would have the same impact that Landis would.”
The road world championships begin Sept. 29 near Melbourne.But Landis said he would talk about his own experiences.
“To be clear, I do not wish to use the conference as a 'soapbox,' nor do I wish to 'hijack' the world championships,” he said in that statement. “I will not and cannot discuss events or circumstances related to the ongoing investigations and lawsuits involving Lance Armstrong and certain of his current and former business associates and teammates, including what I saw and heard during the relevant time periods.”
He said that his motivation now is to try to help the sport to recover, and to ensure that other riders don’t make the same mistakes in future.
“I have always loved racing my bicycle. For me, racing as a professional was a dream come true and it represented the culmination of years of very hard, very painful, dedicated work. Having felt those dreams collapse, having experienced the result of my work publicly evaporate and having subjected the sport I love to unnecessary criticism, I now must be of service and do what I can to help others avoid a similar fate.”
Gerrans was unmoved.
''How can you expect not to hijack the event, whether it's his intention or not?'' he said. ''I am not wasting any energy on it. I am thinking about the road and putting in the best performance possible. It's more of a shame for the event. It's such a fantastic event, and it'll have this cloud over it.''
-- Debbie Goffa