I watched the 60 Minutes interview tonight, and I'm totally won over by Tyler.
Well, except for the part where he reiterated his long-running story that he didn't dope before/at the 2004 Olympics, and that he left the sport on 2008 after his second bust (for herbal supplements for depression) because he didn't want to injure the reputation of the sport. His big confession was that just like Floyd, sure, he took dope here and there, but he never got caught for the dope he was actually doing. He just got caught on a fluke mistake in '08, and God knows what was behind that 2004 bust. This story is completely consistent with his earlier denials, except for the admission that he did do some doping but was never caught for that...
Other than that tiny fly in the ointment, he was totally credible.
Of course I'm not being serious. If this the knight in shining armor that's going to save us from Lance, then we've become stupider and more naive than we were in 2001 when we thought there was no doping after Festina.
On a strictly personal level, I'd respect him a lot more if he'd actually come clean and move on but given his allegations coupled with the continuance of his self-serving (and frankly sort of laughable) rationalizations and denials, it's tough to take him seriously.
One of the benefits of being an asshole with an opinion and a blog is sometimes you get interesting feedback in email, and I've had some enlightening discussions offline with guys who have been popped for doping. The guys who have gotten popped and moved on, or done things that aren't in their immediate best interest, I've got no major problems with. I get their perspective, and although I don't forget I can forgive them what they did - granted none of them cost me any money so I have no skin in the game. But I see it as morally different.
In contrast, a guy like Tyler who is still telling the same old lies but (Now! New and Improved!) with 50% more Lance allegations, rubs me the wrong way. He doesn't appear to be coming clean about anything except for that vague admission that he did some dope once. Can we call that Floyd defense the Lancaster Loop or something, like the Immelman Turn, and just be done with it? Tyler is a guy who won't even admit to having been caught doping, who is making allegations against a guy the haters love to hate, and the serious flaws in his story in order to more deeply believe the allegations he is making against Lance. It's like we're all Agent Mulder now. The rush to embrace Tyler *screams* confirmation bias, and one has to wonder what will happen if Tyler drops some other shoe - news about an immunity deal, a book deal, or some other wheeze that benefits him.
Tyler gets double bonus points for his allegations of a massive UCI conspiracy to hide Lance dope test positives. I want to believe the UCI and Dick Pound and the Swiss federation and anti-doping authorities can be bought off for $25k... That *soooo* fits into my mildly xenophobic outlook and dislike of unaccountable international organizations. I want to believe, really. But the allegation just isn't that credible. If there is some coverup going on at UCI (and WADA, and the Swiss federation and their national anti-doping agency, and in France (and their anti-doping agency, see e.g. the $100k donation), it would be damned hard to hide. I suspect the actual truth is something simpler, and not being spoken anywhere I can hear it right now.
At the same time people I ordinarily respect and think of as somewhat rational are getting orgasmic over the Tyler and that just creeps me out; this includes one guy who is crowing and doing victory laps after being voluble three weeks ago in his criticism of the rubes who spontaneously celebrated Osama bin Laden's death.
It's getting so that it's hard to be an honest Lance Ambivaleteer these days. The baying hounds are rabid enough that I almost reflexively want to kick some of the haters in the shins and defend Lance until I hear *credible* testimony. Tyler Hamilton is only the latest example. The moralizing alone is painful to listen to, and reminiscent of the Clinton-hunters of the late '90's. Or the Bush-haters or the Obama-haters, for whom no act is without sinister motives. The latest one going around is that Lance stood up his cancer charity as a pre-emptive strike against future possible doping charges. I guess it's possible, and maybe it's possible he gave himself cancer in order to win a jury's sympathy vote at some point 20 years in the future. If you listen close, you can hear somebody whacking Occam's razor on a leather strop... I strongly suspect we will look back on this some years from now and be a little ashamed of ourselves for acting this way.
In the meantime -
Oh, what a damned mess these people - Lance, Tyler, Pound, the UCI, Nowitzky and everybody - are making of pro cycling. Some folks are cheering and thinking that Tyler is the guy who is going to burn down pro cycling, and then some pure, new version of pro cycling will spring up out of the ashes.
Somehow, I don't think that's going to happen. I suspect that what will happen, is that everybody will get soot on their faces, and then sort of keep going on more or less as before.
TOT 50: The FBS LBS Ride
The Only Dope Here Is Aiming the Camera
The Only Dope Here Is Aiming the Camera