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Floyd Landis / Paul Kimmage Full Transcript

Posted by bikezilla on February 1, 2011


First, my thanks to NY Velocity for publishing the godawful long transcript of the interview that Paul Kimmage did with Floyd Landis, which was the basis for the Sunday Times article.

Second, this article is written with the assumption that you’ve read the full transcript. So to get full value out of this, please read that.

Is it really a coincidence that within hours of the transcript going up, that the NY Velocity servers suffered “issues” that kept them down for a good fifteen hours? I’m thinking that just perhaps, the long, malicious arm of Lance Armstrong and his insistence that any negative word about him must be buried was at work.

But that’s just me, sitting here in my tinfoil hat, hiding from space aliens and government mind control rays.

I think it’s clear from that transcript that this was not actually an interview. The interviews occurred over the six months prior to this face to face meeting, while background information was investigated and the timeline and details plotted.

No, this was more of a guided conversation, with Kimmage guiding and Landis narrating.

The pair knew exactly where they were headed and what route they’d take to get there.

Which makes the preparation that lead up to it all, no less impressive.

The first thing that I really liked was seeing Landis naming cycling as a drug, one used to escape reality. I liked it because I know that cycling has performed that function for me, granting me freedom, distraction and a touch of sanity toward the end of my marriage. It’s something that I never forget and a memory of time on my bike that I’ll always cherish.

But the first real “wow” moment for me, and something that it seems no one else either noticed or cared about, was his comparison of the doping culture within professional cycling to the Mafia, even pointing out some of the system’s “made men” in Lance Armstrong, Bill Stapleton, Hein Verbruggen, Jim Ochowicz, Pat McQuaid, Johan Bruyneel, Michele Ferrari. Wouldn’t Jonathan Vaughters have to be on that list, now?

And Floyd isn’t at all shy about admitting that he’d dope all over again if he could achieve the same things. He’d just, uh, be more honest about it. Um . . . ok.

I keep beating on that “The UCI is an unchecked power which has run amok and it needs breaking.” drum. When we hear about UCI’s reaction to Floyd’s insistence on being paid the remainder of the monies due from his Mercury contract, via the stipulations of UCI’s own rules, I think that point is completely driven home:

“Hein Verbruggen (the UCI president) stating that ‘This is not the United States, this is Switzerland’ and that ‘threatening to sue us is going to get the wrong reaction and I’m going to advise all of my people to deal with you accordingly.’

It was basically ‘Fuck off, you’re not getting the money.’

It took two years to get the money, and every time we would try to contact them they would just tell us to fuck off basically and ‘sue us’ and ‘we don’t care’ and it was just one thing after another. So then, as that was happening, and I was still trying to get it (the money) I got hired by the Postal service.”

Floyd tells us that it took two years, but the wait wasn’t enough. Made Man Hein Verbruggen required that Landis also be humiliated prior to paying him money that was technically and legally already his.

Floyd said, “Verbruggen called Lance and had him come to me and say that I had to retract my statement and apologise in Cyclingnews”

And don’t you wonder why Cycling News is Verbruggen’s and UCI’s chosen vehicle? What’s their link to or role in the whole UCI, professional cycling, doping “Mafia” setup?

So it went down like this:

I had started to talk to Lance about doping and he was giving me advice about things we were doing and explaining how Ferrari worked, and the rides that he and I were doing together.

This came up during that time, so one of the conversations was ‘Look Floyd, you have got to do what this guy says because we’re going to need a favour from him at some point. It’s happened in the past. I had a positive test in 2001 at the Tour of Swiss and I had to go to these guys.

He said ‘It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not.’ He said ‘I don’t doubt it, I’m sure you’re telling the truth, I’m sure they didn’t follow the rules but it doesn’t matter. That’s not one of your choices. You have to apologise.’

So I said ‘Okay, I didn’t know that’s how it worked but fair enough. This is the first time I’ve heard of someone being paid-off to make a test go away but that’s all I need to hear. If that’s the kind of favours I need, I’m not going to insult that guy.’

He said “Here’s what I’ll have you to do. I’ll call Jim Ochowicz (the president of USA cycling) and he’ll arrange a phone call with Verbruggen and you will apologise to him and tell him you’re sorry.’

Jim Ochowicz is also one of Lance’s staunchest personal friends and supporters.

Throughout the transcript Floyd mentions his dissatisfaction with the Stage 17 testosterone pos, not because he wasn’t doping, but because he hadn’t used testosterone during the Tour that year and because of all the errors and issues with the testing itself.

Some take that to mean that he’s using the “bad” pos as a justification and a statement that he didn’t deserve to be caught at all.

I don’t take it that way. I think he’s genuinely pissed off (and always was) about the “too bad, screw you” attitude and the fact that the arbitrators seemed to have been told what to think and say and how to react well in advance. I think he’s pissed that the evidence of incompetence or intentional wrong-doing or errors in judgement were apparent and should have mattered, but again, the judgement was in before any statement was made or evidence was presented.

I think he’s pissed that UCI doesn’t follow its own rules unless following the rules fits their current needs and that they are, as I’ve mentioned before, unassailable and untouchable.

I believe he’s accepted guilt, but not the treatment he received.

Now for your reading enjoyment, a few of Floyd’s gems about Lance Armstrong’s character (or complete lack of it):

“I had heard rumours about what he was like and that he wasn’t really as nice a guy as the book tried to make him out, so I wasn’t caught completely off guard but it was confirmation”

“The more people there were, the more paranoid he became that he couldn’t control the situation in his own mind at least.”

“I started copying more people because I started to get paranoid; I started to get scared because I knew once Lance found out about this, he was going to do whatever he had to do to stop it.”

“he gets all his satisfaction out of preventing other people from winning.” (like lowly, bloggers who don’t sing his praises loudly enough?)

“when I left the team he took it personally – and he sort of does that anyway –

but I think in his mind he justified it as ‘The only reason this guy has anything is because we helped him. He should have a bit of loyalty.’

And because we are a little but alike in certain ways, I was offended because I knew that I did the best job I could possibly have done for $60,000 a year. I was better than the guys making $800,000 a year! How could they hold it against me and say that I owed them something?

I mean – and this is not unique to cycling – but its always business when you want something and friendship when they want something and that’s the way they ended up making it.

And I tried to manage it a little bit but he is so controlling and so adamant that I decided it wasn’t worth managing and I didn’t really care that much about being his friend because by this time I had learned that you couldn’t be his friend, so I said ‘Fuck it. I’m just not going to talk to him anymore.’ I could have been a bit more astute in the way the politics work and thought ‘Maybe I shouldn’t make him my enemy’ and I don’t know that that’s why I am here but…”

As you learn about the true nature and power and control of Lance Armstrong, plus the shady details of the testing, doesn’t it seem ever more likely that Floyd’s pos for testosterone was entirely set up?

Here’s an example of what I mean:

KIMMAGE: “Okay, given your ambition to win the Tour; and given what you know about Lance and his power within the UCI; and given that you had been working with Ferrari and a doping programme: Was there no element of you thinking ‘How do I do this if I step out of that programme? If I break those ties and provoke them, how will I succeed?’ Did you think that through at all?”

LANDIS: “I did, absolutely, and I was worried about…not how I was going to do it myself, but I was worried they were going to prevent me from doing it.

Because by this time I had figured out that all I really needed was blood transfusions and a little bit of anabolic (steroids) over time. I knew I could recover well enough on my own, and could train well enough without other crazy things.

Because that’s all I did up to 2004, and I was extremely good in 2004, I was about as good as I have ever been. And I knew that if I just improved a little bit from there I’d be good enough to win.

So I didn’t really need Ferrari’s advice any more because I didn’t really use his training programmes anyway because I had all his other information.

My main concern was: ‘Is the UCI going to be told to manipulate something or do something against me?’ And when it didn’t happen in 2005 I didn’t worry about it too much any more because by then I was thinking that my career wasn’t going to last too long anyway because of my hip”

And they did manipulate, because while he openly admits to using testosterone he insists that he never used it IN competition for the ’06 Tour de France, only prior to the Tour that year.

So if he had not used testosterone prior to Stage 17 of the ’06 Tour, and failed none of his previous controls during that Tour, then what answer is left? UCI manipulated his samples on Armstrong’s orders and payment? In the context of the entire transcript it seems not only plausible but likely.

Was that a conclusion Kimmage wanted to guide us to, without having the guts to say it himself?

Ya know how Lance keeps saying that he “was just another employee”? Doesn’t it seem odd that “just another employee’s” personal agent calls Floyd Landis just to check up on his intentions on resigning with the team and, how does Stapleton have the authority to tell Floyd what offers will and won’t be made or accepted? Doesn’t sound much like “just another employee” to me.

Floyd Landis spends a lot of time talking about “justifying things in his head” and the burden that lying was on his conscience and that it was the dishonesty of the past few years that really bothered him the most.

But that’s not how I read it.

So Floyd, as is his right in an appeals process that really needs the word “appeals” in finger quotes, exercises his fullest rights.

UCI, just to show their power, tacks on an extra six months to the suspension, punishing Landis for following the farcical “appeal” system to its furthest conclusion.

So he serves his suspension, and upon its completion he finds that he has been left adrift and that while there are potential rescuers within site and only just barely out of reach, they’ve been forbidden from helping him in anyway. Each time he approaches one, his hands desperately outstretched, seeking help, begging for it, they look directly into his eyes and maneuver away from him, sometimes laughing, waiting for him to drown.

The real nudge that sent Floyd into his tell-all journey was not a need to feel the freedom of “truth” it was the two “last straws” of 1. denying floyd a team or the potential for a team and 2. removing him involuntarily from the “out of competition testing list”, effectively ending his opportunity to compete for the next six months.

If UCI had given an ounce of the grace they’d given Lance Armstrong to Floyd Landis, the burden on his conscience would have been entirely bearable. If Lance Armstrong had been less petty and pointlessly vengeful, if he’d said, “I’ve made him suffer enough.” and had offered Floyd a hand up out of the pit he’d sunken into, Floyd would easily have “justified” all the years of lying that so tormented his soul and silently gone on about his rejuvenated career.

The difference between Lance and Floyd, is that Lance doesn’t wall off the negative “what ifs”. Lance considers and prepares for them, he has his answers, his tactics and his attacks planned for their eventuality.

Lance is not a spur of the moment thinker. When he jumps Kimmage or Lemond in a public forum, he’s had his little speech prepared well in advance. It’s another reason he has to have the exchange end one-sidedly and without a return volley being fired or having to carry on a real, intellectual debate / exchange; he’s got no follow up. His mind is just not that quick in a real, unscripted, face to face throw-down.

Here are a few concerns with this “interview”. These things make it seem like openness and honesty weren’t really goals at all, but the telling of a specific story and the making of specific points to fit Floyd and Paul’s agendas.

Why didn’t Kimmage even touch on things like, “Who gave you that first testosterone patch?”, “How did you find out when and where you’d get your next patch, your next shot or pill, your next blood draw or transfusion?”, “Who and how was all of this paid for?”

Why wasn’t the issue of the testing lab’s computers being hacked even mentioned?

Why did Kimmage never so much as hint at Floyd’s mocking of Greg Lemond’s sexual abuse and his (Floyd’s) friend’s / manager’s call to humiliate Greg? Why did they completely ignore Floyd’s attempt to blackmail Greg into silence by threatening to expose the sexual abuse to the world media?

Possibly most puzzling of all, why did Kimmage not once even brush up against discussing Phonak’s involvement in doping? What did they know? What did they contribute? What were the roles of Andy Rihs and John Lelangue.

I mean Rihs, for being well-liked, has a history with doping riders that has to leave him stinking and slimy. Does anyone believe he’s really just an innocent in all of this? Yet Kimmage doesn’t give him so much as a sniff. Why, Paul?

And what about Jonathan Vaughters? The article makes it clear that he had and continues to have an intimate knowledge of professional cycling’s mafioso doping culture.

Yet he pretends to council Landis to give up names, dates, places and times to the feds, while refusing to do the same. Is Jonathan’s reinterpretation of his advice to Landis really believable?

He was fully aware of doping and it’s systemic nature within Johna Bruyneel’s and Lance Armstrong’s teams, and found it amusing. I don’t see how that kind of joviality and frivolity could indicate anything other than his active participation in same, making all the harder to buy into his “Team Clean” claims.

Jonathan Vaughters, Mr Anti-doping Crusader, still seems quite big on protecting those he KNOWS have doped and continue to dope. If this is our great champion against the evils of doping within the ranks of professional cycling, then we have no hope at all.

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