Flickr photo by Spot!Disgraced 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has come out swinging: admitting that he did use performance enhancing drugs, but also throwing Lance Armstrong under the proverbial road bike by accusing him of the same thing.
According to USA Today and ESPN, Landis sent the following email :
"I don't feel guilty at all about having doped. I did what I did because that's what we (cyclists) did and it was a choice I had to make after 10 years or 12 years of hard work to get there; and that was a decision I had to make to make the next step. My choices were, do it and see if I can win, or don't do it and I tell people I just don't want to do that, and I decided to do it."
Armstrong, for his part, has denied all allegations.
Of course, if Landis is telling the truth, then one can understand why he would accuse Armstrong as well. After all, there is arguably no one as decorated or esteemed in the world of athletics than Lance Armstrong.
If he did use performance enhancing drugs, I would feel a bit like I do when I find out a celebrity has had plastic surgery. As in, half relieved and half depressed by the impossible standards such procedures set.
It would make him awfully hard to admire to know that the reason he was "athletically gifted" had more to do with illegal drugs than with actual talent.
Of course I know it is a mix of the two, but they would be difficult to separate. Further, if he did dope, he set a precedent for future athletes like Landis that is almost impossible to live up to, thus ensuring that all future winners of the Tour de France would also have to dope as well.
It's a slippery slope that dope.
I, for one, hope it is not true. I hope that Lance Armstrong -- and his superhuman heart -- is a true champion. So I will choose to believe that.
How about the rest of you? Do you think Lance used?