I’ve had a little time to reflect. I consulted a very good friend of mine. Her name is Stella. Stella Artois. Being Belgian, she had a lot of great insight.
I am sitting here admist the carnage and find myself in the same place that I have been for almost a year. I was hoping beyond hope that Floyd would either get a fair hearing or a fair ruling. He had neither.
My position has been that I do not know what a man is capable of doing when facing the destruction of a life’s work. After stage 16, Floyd was facing the biggest demon of his life (so far). When confronted with that, would/could Floyd look for an edge? I don’t know.
What I do know is that until I see proof that Floyd succumbed to temptation, I will continue to believe he did not. Looking at his performance on Stage 17, I did not see anything suggesting he was unfairly aided.
So, I waited for the hearing. In the hearing, I did not see anything that I would consider hard proof. In fact, I didn’t see soft proof. I didn’t see anything in the zip code of proof. If you are going to ruin a man’s life, you better have your case locked down. It wasn’t.
Then while waiting or the decision, I hoped and prayed (pun intended) that the decision would be made based on the evidence of doping. Not on political grounds, or personal character, or character of associates.
So a man’s life’s work is in tatters. The cost of the USADA keeping a perfect record, WADA validating a system designed by Torquemada himself, and the UCI just trying to keep its head above water.
Floyd will appeal to the CAS. I believe they will uphold the decision since the “process” was followed correctly. The CAS will most likely move his suspension start back to the end of the 2006 Tour. This will allow him to start riding and supporting his family again next summer. Unfortunately, the Commerce Bank Philadelphia bike race is in June and can’t provide a stage for his return.
The good news is the additional 2 year ProTour ban is meaningless as the ProTour will not survive that long. The bad news is that Floyd will be, of course persona non grata in a European peloton run by the Grand Tours. This, because he had the temerity to protest his innocence.
Until proven otherwise, I will support Floyd. I will support and attend races where he competes. We in the US will get the benefit of watching a top tier cyclist compete in our back yard.
In conclusion, for those regular readers of this column, I write this while listening to Mozart: Requiem in D minor. If you are so inclined, I recommend the Sequentia: Dies Irae or Sequentia: Rex Tremendae both of which were popularized in the 1984 movie Amadeus.