Thursday, July 20, 2006


ARLENE LANDIS WATCHES HER SON. This photo by Carolyn Kaster (AP) is, to me, the most incredible image related to this year's Tour de France.

SIMPLICITY AND TECHNOLOGY. The Landis family of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is conservative Mennonite. Living in simplicity and community, they choose not to possess or routinely use an automobile or TV. Arlene Landis, mother of Tour de France contender Floyd Landis, walks to a neighbor's house to watch her son ride the greatest cycling race in the world.

ENDEARING BONDS. In this photo she not only watches OLN's coverage of the Tour de France, but holds up a phone to the TV, perhaps for a friend or relative to hear of her son's internationally-respected effort. I just love this contrast of cultures and endearing bonds of family!

FREE TO LEAVE. News sources report that Floyd Landis left his cloistered community after graduation from high school. Though not easy, leaving such communities is always a free and considered choice for Mennonite and Amish youth, not an act of rebellion (as some in the news media are trying to cast Landis' departure). Landis loved riding throughout his youth. After leaving his community, Landis has made San Diego his home. From that base he became a nationally-prominant mountain bike competitor before switching to road racing and becoming part of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France-winning team.


  1. Your silence on the whole Landis-steroids fiasco is deafening. I assume you won't write anything about it until after the tests come back and decisions have been made...

  2. Yes, well, Matt, I am really struggling with this whole scenario.

    I guess I've been wavering between denial and exasperation, all the while really hoping a plausible explanation can be found for Landis' high--and apparently at least partially externally introduced--levels of testosterone found in his blood sample taken at the end of Stage 17.

    Think about it: It would have been plain crazy for him to have doped and then ridden hard to win Stage 17--his comeback stage--knowing that every stage winner and Yellow Jersey wearer would tested. Would anybody think they could get away with that?

    And has Landis' blood samples from his days in the Yellow Jersey been tested and revealed to be high, too? If they aren't out of bounds, then why was that blood sample different?

    I am not hopeful about the UCI testing on his B sample that will be in the news on Saturday. An independent endocrinology test will be conducted a bit later that will prove--without reasonable doubt--the actual, discernable sources of his elevated testosterone that day.

    Remember: It took nearly a year for Armstrong to be cleared after last year's annual round of accusations. And that inquiry found WADA's laboratory to have been not only inaccurate and tainted, but biased and unethical.

    So, there are no easy answers...even after the answers are given. Such is the terrain of professional--and some amateur--sports these days. I guess the days of not second-guessing a championship performance may be gone...or in serious jeopardy.


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