Could this be the most interesting Tour yet…

He is a liar.  A really profound one at that.  He took donated money for his legal defense, which was a lie.  Then he wrote a book filled with lies. How do we know this for sure?

Because now he says he lied, and this time it’s the truth.

As reported in an opportunistically timed WSJ report, Floyd Landis, disgraced winner of the 2006 Tour de France, having admitted to both doping and lying, is now accusing most of his former cycling colleagues of systematic cheating.  Blood transfusions and testosterone patches (not for lowT) were the performance-enhancing agents du jour. As said in the WSJ…

Doping is a scourge in professional athletics, and pro cycling has seen numerous scandals and suspensions over the past decade. The picture painted by Mr. Landis in the interviews, and in a series of emails he wrote to cycling sponsors in May, provides the most detailed view yet of what may be one of the biggest and most intricately coordinated cheating conspiracies in sports history. It involves blood transfusions taken in a bus on a remote alpine road, riders wearing testosterone patches to bed, and an operative posing as an autograph-seeking fan to deliver a bag of blood to a rider after a race.”

Is a liar now telling the truth?  Is a liar capable of ever telling the truth?

Tonight, I watched a few Tour highlight shows in which Lance rode away from his rivals as if they were overweight golfers–but in reality they were the second through fifth best cyclists in the world.  Even more interesting is that said rivals have subsequently all been either busted for doping, admitted to doping, or mysteriously left the sport.

Regular people–outside the bike racing cult–who know I ride, often ask me, is Lance clean?  

I don’t know for sure.  But a truism from the inside world of bike racing is that competitive cyclists do not believe the unbelievable.

It is a drug in a way.  The amazing sensation of when the pedals turn effortlessly, for forever, it seems.  Competitors squirm with discomfort as you pedal harder. And as if this sensation was not a high enough high, remember that the heavy load of an athlete’s self-worth is hung on a single peg.  Validation of a winning performance surely strengthens the peg, albeit only transiently, as impermanence is truth.

What is the truth?

It is hard to know with absolute certainty, but this dramatic his-word against-our-word story only adds to the intrigue of the next three weeks.