I am no fan of Floyd Landis but.... he has a right to be ticked off right now.
Last November Landis was interviewed on German television and said that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is corrupt and protects certain riders.
Now the UCI on February 7th sent Landis a letter giving him 15 days to retract his statement or be sued in a Swiss court. Floyd shot back an email that pretty much said, “I’m broke, so go ahead and sue good luck.”
What is the UCI thinking with the timing of this threat of a law suit? The handling of the Contador affair screams hypocrisy. Landis was found to have doped in the 2006 Tour de France, and was immediately stripped of his Tour win and barred from competition for two years.
Contador on the other hand was found to have Clenbuterol in his system within days of the Tour de France finish in July 2010, but the UCI kept it quiet until the end of September. Then they only said something because details had been leaked to the press.
Next the UCI pussy-foots around for months and finally handed the case over to the Spanish Cycling Federation, who initially gave Contador a one year ban. Alberto got off light when you consider most other athletes get two years.
Now in an unprecedented move a week later the Spanish Federation reverses its finding, and now says Contador is innocent. This came soon after the Spanish Prime Minister no less, stated that Contador had broken no Spanish law.
Floyd Landis broke no US law, but the American President or other top ranking US politician didn’t get involved in his case. The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has set a zero tolerance for clenbuterol in an athlete’s body, no matter how the substance got there. Its presence warrants a sanction; otherwise why have this rule.
Other athletes have already been sanctioned because of clenbuterol use; you can’t pick and choose who gets banned and who doesn’t. This is not criminal law of “Innocent until proven guilty” no one is being executed or sent to prison. These are rules of a sport that all the players agree to abide by.
The UCI has to step in now and ban Contador for the full two years and strip him of his TDF win. If they don’t they lose all credibility, and Floyd Landis is right; there is one rule for the super stars, and another for the rest.
The UCI needs to either strictly enforce its own rules on doping or get out of dope testing altogether and abide by whatever the WADA decides. The later might be the better choice because the UCI has a conflict of interest between promoting the sport of cycling, and enforcing the rules.
Right now they are failing miserably on both counts, and they are killing the sport they claim to love and uphold. If Contador rides in this year’s Tour de France I for one will not feel inclined to watch it.