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Work of fiction but interesting
on 22 October 2011
This is a an exceptionally interesting book. History tells us it is a complete pack of lies, so once you know the truth that has come out in recent years, this books makes for an interesting snapshot in time.
It comes across like a badly written script for a hollywood blockbuster. In hindsight that is not surprising, given it was not exactly an honest account of events. But it tries to create a world where we can all route for Landis, a kind of Hollywood style 'man against all odds' script that has won over American audiences since the big screen was invented. For example, after the collapse on stage 16 of the 2006 Tour he writes Axel Merckx said 'you made me a better rider than I actually am by believing in you, and I still believe in you' before Landis explains how he came up with the plan for Stage 17 that would win the tour, and see him accomplish his dreams.
Because it is a pack of lies, Landis has tried very hard to try and portray how an innocent man would have acted, and would have thought - except he had no reference point of this because he was guilty as sin. I suspect the whole thing is a work of Landis' imagination. He makes himself the underdog and hero in every scenario in a way that is destined for the big screen. He is trying to tell people how it should have all played out - a cry for support, and Landis seems to think the only way to get that support is to base the lead character on Maverick from Top Gun.
I doubt there is any truth in this account at all.
But that is why this is such a fascinating read. Don't think this is an account of the real Floyd Landis, think of it more as an account of a guilty doper clearly shocked that he has been caught. It is fascinating for all the things it doesn't say, for what it is covering up, and as a portrayal of how a guilty mind works. I like the way it seems as if Landis is trying to convince himself as much as the public.
Hindsight now allows us to treat this book in a completely different to the manner in which it was intended. It reveals Landis to be delusional, guilty and desperate. In some ways it is fairly sad to see a man resort to such desperate measures but equally it is fascinating. Landis should get no credit for this work, after all it is a delusional account based on lies. Read it as a study of the mind of a cheater, not of a man setting the record straight.
But do read it. Then read Lance Armstrong's 'Its not about the bike'...