Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Phenomenal



If you read one thing about "sports" this year, or even this decade, read this. It is a complete transcript of a 7-hour interview that Floyd Landis gave to Paul Kimmage about his life and the ordeal of his Tour de France victory in 2006. I have never read anything like it from any public figure, ever.

Landis is matter-of-fact, flawed, honest, and full of details. Details, details, details and more details. The system in place around "cycling" that Landis describes is spot-on-perfect. Full of scumbag characters, pay-offs, grudges, petty bureaucratic wrangling. A system, where no one is honest and there is no shred of beauty or grace. Kafka would be so proud.

If you ever had any doubts about how dirty cycling is, about how dirty, dishonest, petty, and loathsome the bureaucrats who run cycling in Europe are, read this.

The bottom line: Landis was very talented, and very naive when he went to Europe. He unwittingly irritated the wrong people at the UCI very early in his career and those very powerful people were afraid of him, because they got an inkling that they wouldn't be able to control him. And they kept the grudge until they could ruin him. There's nothing a stuck-up Euro-bureaucrat dislikes more than an American he can't blackmail. Bravo, Floyd!