Sunday, July 04, 2010

More Landis Allegations: WSJ Bombshell; Is Landis a Sociopath?

Well, well, well. I have to admit it's entertaining to see two formerly great newspapers battle it out in the world of cycling, a world which neither of them really knows or understands.

Not that they don't try. The Wall Street Journal published a bombshell of an expose detailing the accusations being made by discredited 2006 Tour de France winner, Floyd Landis. It's a long story with little to no corroboration for Landis's amazing and colorful vignettes of how he doped alongside the great Lance Armstrong while a part of the U.S. Postal Service Team.

Along comes the NY Times, to lambast the WSJ for holding the story until the last minute, the night before the first stage of the 2010 TDF. In their article they question the motivation of this Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper in printing the details when they knew the whole story months ago.

Sure that's an appropriate criticism except that everyone knows stories are best released when they will make the most impact (a Murdochism that was not invented by him by the way.)

It's a little bit like "she doth protest too much." One paper's translucently cheap attempts for eyeballs for another's.

What's worse, if you read the story carefully, the account of Landis' allegations is just that--an account of allegations. The stories include carefully crafted vignettes, including one about parking the team bus on an alpine road, pretending it's broken down, and having the riders lie on the bankettes--or on the floor in the case of Lance Armstrong--to take fresh blood transfusions. Can you imagine parking one of those huge buses on an alpine pass? I wouldn't even park my car on one.

Another Landis story details how he was handed a pack of foiled testosterone packs by Lance Armstrong in front of his previous wife, Kristen, in their kitchen.

And the most colorful Landis story, possibly the only one I believe but seems to be tossed in there to ruin Armstrong's image as a all around athlete and good guy, is about Armstrong taking Landis and his other teammates in a car to see strippers in his home town.

WOW, what an allegation. You mean men actually go to see strippers?

What's more, the stories are told in a voice that wants to make you believe that Landis was so innocent to all this--I mean, these big guys in cycling were just blowing me away and I was sooo in awe that I decided to dope too!

Actually the only true story in the list of vignettes is the one where desperate Landis, with his physical prowess in the toilet bowl, starts his own doping program when he joins Phonak. Now that makes a lot of sense.

Because after being let go by the US Postal Service Team for being a loser--and a sore one at that--check out the story about his winging about the "low end" bike he was riding and how he couldn't believe they couldn't get him a better one--Phonak thinks he can actually perform, but of course he doesn't and he's desperate to hang on to his $500,000 contract.

What's become clear is a personality profile that sounds amazingly similar to the description of someone who might be borderline or perhaps pure sociopath. Could the reason he was dropped from his team, aside from really poor race performance, was because he's inconsistent, egotistical, arrogant, a liar (well he proved that himself in his repetitive inconsistencies,) --the list goes on. I can't confirm that he is a sociopath, but I can tell you this, he sure is beginning to sound like one.

So why would the WSJ even give him credence if they know he's lied before? And why also would the NYT care if the WSJ wrote an entire story about Landis's allegations if he has shown in the past his propensity to prevaricate?

Because it makes good news.

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