Is Landis giving us straight dope now?
By Ferd Lewis
We know that disgraced 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is a liar and a cheat, but is he also the Jose Canseco of cycling?
Canseco, it will be recalled, was roundly vilified for the then-discounted assertions in the 2005 tell-all book "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big" about the widespread use of steroids in baseball.
But as history eventually proved that, for all his opportunism, Canseco was, in many cases, right.
Enough so that his next book was titled: "Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball."
Now we are left to wonder if Landis, for all his slithering conduct, is similarly correct.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Landis last month sent a conscience-clearing batch of messages and e-mails to cycling officials and sponsors not only admitting for the first time that he used performance-enhancing drugs, but claiming that former teammate Lance Armstrong did so and tutored him on how to beat drug testing.
Moreover, Landis is said to allege several other cyclists, including some Armstrong sidekicks, used human growth hormones.
Of course, this can of worms comes courtesy of the same Landis who wrote the 2007 book, "Positively False: The real Story of How I Won the Tour de France" in which he vigorously denied his victory was a triumph of banned synthetic testosterone.
Landis maintained his innocence through an exhaustive and expensive legal battle that relied on more than $1 million in donations from fans. Up until a few months ago, he was still doing interviews professing innocence.
As Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner who has yet to have a charge of doping stick, pointed out, "Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago."
But, so too, had Canseco when he began offering scalps. From the time he took a baseball off the noggin in the outfield, Canseco had been viewed as a clown who wasted Cooperstown potential. He denied in the late 1980s the use of steroids before turning author.
But if Canseco and the pervasive use of performance-enhancing drugs — and coverup denials — have taught us anything, it is that we don't know who to trust anymore. And, remarkably, the distributors of truth can sometimes be people who barely have a nodding acquaintance with the definition of the word.