Cycle of cowardice

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! SportsMay 21, 2007

Floyd Landis wants you to believe that he is a most upstanding man, a moral product of Mennonite upbringing, where honor and honesty mean more than the money and glory of winning the Tour de France.

He wants you to peer into his soul and understand that he'd never cheat to win cycling's grandest race, as the drug tests and the US Anti-Doping Agency claim, because such an ignoble act would go against everything his pure heart believes.

"It's a matter of who I am," Landis testified Saturday according to the Associated Press at his ongoing arbitration in which he is fighting a two-year ban from the sport. "It wouldn't serve any purpose for me to cheat and win the Tour, because I wouldn't be proud of it."

Yes, what a man of high standards this ignorant clown is. What a proud, honorable champion this cut-throat coward is.

We all found out last week who Landis is, and now this isn't about whether he doped but just what a dope, what a pathetic excuse for a human being he is.

Landis' testimony Saturday – he went through cross examination Monday – was broken into two parts.

One part he asked everyone to believe him when he described his character. The other showed it in crystal clarity when he was forced to explain his part of an effort by his camp to possibly suppress testimony from former Tour de France champion Greg LeMond.

Last year LeMond, in a private conversation with Landis where he was making the case for the value of telling the truth, disclosed that as a child LeMond had been sexually abused by an uncle and how keeping it bottled up "nearly destroyed" him.

Landis didn't take LeMond’s advice, which was his right. But he told his manager, Will Geoghegan, among others, about LeMond's deep, dark secret.

Then, last Wednesday, the night before LeMond was set to take the stand at Landis' arbitration hearing, Geoghegan called LeMond up, pretending to be his old pathetic, pedophilic uncle. It was an effort, LeMond believed, to keep him from appearing at the trial.

"He said 'Hi Greg, this is your uncle. … and I'm going to be there tomorrow,'" LeMond testified on Thursday. "I said, 'Who is this?' He said, 'I'm going to be there and we can talk about how we used to hide your weenie."

"I figured this was intimidation," LeMond said.

LeMond eventually traced the call to Geoghegan's phone and called him back. Geoghegan does not dispute the call. He tried to apologize to LeMond for it last week.

Landis admitted under oath he told Geoghegan about LeMond's abuse and admitted he was in the room when both the initial call and LeMond's return call were made. He claimed he didn't hear much of the initial conversation because he was at the other end of a dining room table, although the idea that Geoghegan would make such a dastardly, possibly illegal phone call in front of everyone, without wanting them to know, is extremely questionable.

Regardless, by the end of the LeMond's return call, Landis admitted he knew what had happened, that he and Geoghegan discussed what to do next.

"That's when it sunk in that he had called Greg LeMond, and then I knew it was a problem, " Landis said.

So did he fire his manager immediately? Did he punch him in the face? Did he grab the phone and call LeMond back and apologize profusely? Did it even dawn on him that this was so much worse, so much bigger than some bike race?

Of course not. A man would do that. Floyd Landis is no man.

He gambled that LeMond wouldn't say a word. That LeMond, still scared of the stigma of childhood abuse, still embarrassed by being the most innocent of victims of the most dirty of crimes would just let it slide, to avoid supposed public humiliation.

He completely underestimated the courage of Greg LeMond, a champion of a human that no amount of synthetic engineering could ever produce in Floyd Landis.

LeMond went public with the whole thing last Thursday, told the world his childhood secret, told the world about Landis spreading it and his manager attacking him with it, told the world that he wouldn't be bullied now by an adult anymore, wouldn't be scared.

And then, and only then, only after LeMond had cast the light of truth on Landis' soul did Landis fire Geoghegan.

Only after he got caught.

Then, even then, according to press accounts, Landis helped Geoghegan move out of his hotel room.

"People are defined by their principles and how they make their decisions," Landis said Saturday, when he was talking all high and mighty, trying to tell us about how he could never cheat.

And of all the baloney in this trial, in all the awfulness and evilness, it was the truest thing said.

People are defined by their principles and how they make their decisions and Floyd Landis is no different.

He's a despicable rat, a coward and a cowering, desperate puddle of a person.

He and his apologists, the ones he duped into funding his defense, can try to carve this up any way they want. They can parse words and pretend it didn't happen and keep pointing to some great cycling conspiracy.

Whatever. This isn't about cycling anymore. This isn't about lab procedures. This isn't about what was or wasn't in Floyd Landis' system after Stage 17 in France last July.

This is what is in that heart he begged us to look into. This is what is in that soul, in his character he talks so much about. This is about the science coming in on what a piece of trash this guy turned out to be.