Writing in depth about the now questionable achievements of the 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd...
Writing in depth about the now questionable achievements of the 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis in a special column on ESPN.com, Bobby Julich said he felt disappointed about what has happened, but continues to side with his compatriot. However, the American also admitted at present, "the only people we have to blame are ourselves".
Wrote Julich: "Looking at the Floyd situation, he had to go through some major, major difficulty, mentally, after Stage 16 [of the Tour de France]. I don't believe Floyd would've been arrogant enough to think he would've gotten away with something like this. It's almost like you have to look at the people who were around him that maybe could have influenced him or given him this substance without him knowing."
Julich also criticised the way the news broke about Landis' samples testing positive, comparing the case to that of American sprinter Justin Gatlin, whose test results were announced four months after he first tested positive in April. "And because of a leak, his dream turned to a nightmare very quickly. We just felt that even though he was positive in both his "A" and "B" samples, he should have been given time to defend himself properly, instead of basically being tried immediately in the public eye," he wrote.
Continued Julich, "So it's a simple fact that the tests are in place, and they're obviously catching people. But we don't really understand why it has to be such a long, drawn-out process after someone is caught before he can be punished. Maybe that gives the guilty parties more of a reason - like, 'Hey if we do this, we can get off on a technicality. Even if we get caught.'"
Regardless, the 34 year-old from Reno, Nevada, said it's a confusing time for all cyclists and athletes, but the athletes must recognise the tests are getting better, and calls for tests that are "100 percent waterproof where there is no second-guessing", "where no-one is able to cheat anymore".
"There has to be a line drawn and an agreement made where it's just not worth it. I've believed in that a long time. It's just time that everyone realize that enough is enough. Draw the line in the sand," wrote Julich.
"But I guess at the moment, the only people we have to blame are ourselves. The cyclists, and athletes in general, have been making very, very poor decisions of late. And it has to change.
"I don't feel betrayed. I just feel disappointed that, again, we finally build up a guy everyone seems to really like and support and rally behind, then he's thrown into the same category of so many of the other big riders of late: being under suspicion for doping.
"It's a disappointment, but we have to move on and try to make the sport better," Julich said.
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