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July 27, 2006

Landis reaction from around the web

Man of the hour

King Kaufman's Sports Daily | Tour de France shocker

Salon's daily sports columnist King Kaufman quotes John Eustis, interviewed on ESPN's Dan Patrick show, and noting that every rider who has contested the testosterone test has prevailed. Eustis also claimed that Landis's testosterone levels were low, but the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone was above 4:1, the new “positive” level this year.

Cortisone use (approved for use on Landis's hip) can reportedly raise testosterone levels, as can alcohol.

BBC Sport talked to Greg Lemond, who's apparently not in the “wait for the b-sample” crowd:

“I'm devastated and extremely disapointed,” he said. “I can't imagine the disappointment for Floyd and his family. I really did believe Floyd was clean.

”The problem is the sport is corrupt and it corrupts everybody. I still believe it was one of the cleanest Tours ever. But is it 100 percent clean? No.

“You will always find riders who transgress the laws. I really did believe Floyd was not among them, that he was clean. Hopefully, he will be able to tell the truth.”

Some links suggested by my amazingly astute readers:

Gladwell.com | Drugstore Athlete

Especially section 3, which addresses testosterone testing in sports.

American Statistical Association | Inferences about Testosterone Abuse among Athletes

An academic paper about the likelihood of false positives, particularly given the new 4:1 “presumption of guilt” value.

Arlene Landis on Brasstown BaldSI.com has an AP story that includes quotes from Arlene Landis, Floyd's mother:

Arlene Landis, his mother, said Thursday that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but “if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win.”

“I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are,” she said in a phone interview from her home in Farmersville, Pa. “I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me.”

CBS Sportsline | Landis' mom defends Floyd against doping allegations

Later comments from Mrs. L: “My opinion is when he comes on top of this, everyone will think so much more of him. So that's what valleys are for, right?”

NPR.org | Talk of the Nation: Tour de France Winner Caught in Doping Scandal

Audio should be available around 6 p.m., but a reader who heard the report says Pelkey believes Landis tested around 11:1 testosterone:epitestosterone, but did so because his normal testosterone level dwarfed a very low epitestosterone level.

German network ZDF suggests they may drop the Tour, and that a positive dope test for the maillot jaune might seal the deal:

“We signed a broadcasting contract for a sporting event, not a show demonstrating the performances of the pharmaceutical industry,” ZDF editor-in-chief Nikolaus Brender said.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink

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» News of Floyd Failing Test Heard Around the World from Tour Squad
All the cycling websites are trying to get to the bottom of this story. Im sure everyone wishes Floyd Landis would come out say something, anything, just to give cycling fans a glint of hope. I dont think he cheated. There has to be a rea... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 27, 2006 4:42:30 PM

» Is Landis Guilty of Doping? from 21st Century Paladin
The latest news is that Sample B has been considered by the testing firm to show illegal levels of testosterone. But as ESPNs interview with John Eustice shows, there are too many problems for someone to know for certain that Land... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 6, 2006 12:22:08 PM

Comments

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/austin_murphy/07/27/landis.react/index.html

Floyd says he didn't do it -- didn't inject testosterone, didn't apply a testosterone patch to any part of his body. Floyd Landis just returned my call, and I asked him straight up: "Did you do it, bro?"

He said, "No, c'mon man," in what would turn out to be the first of several denials.

I want very badly to believe him.

Landis had been crying. Not for himself -- he'd just gotten off the phone with his mother, Arlene, who has been driven from the family home in Farmersville, Pa., by reporters scavenging for quotes. "I know it's their job," he said, sadly, "but they need to leave her out of this."

Posted by: noelle at Jul 27, 2006 4:27:54 PM

Finally, some words from Floyd:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/austin_murphy/07/27/landis.react/index.html?cnn=yes

Posted by: Julie at Jul 27, 2006 4:34:17 PM

There was a recent update on Arlene Landis's reaction: http://www.sportsline.com/cycling/story/9574224.

After speaking with Floyd today she is now convinced that he did nothing wrong. I think that stands for something, in light of her previous comments today. And as a child of a similarly conservative Mennonite family who lives 30 minutes from them, I can attest to the absolute following of the rules. Those folks believe very strongly that "you reap what you sow." Arlene heard something that settled the issue in her mind. I don't believe she would ever try to cover for Floyd, as she showed already this morning. Just as I trust my conservative Mennonite mother's word completely, I trust Arlene's opinion of things. I will be very surprised if she is wrong. (Yes, I know that's not a very scientific way of approaching things.)

Posted by: Jason M. at Jul 27, 2006 4:41:05 PM

His mother? Because his mother says he didn't do it, that means you're OK with it? Please. I'm sorry, I was as big a fan of Floyd's as anyone during this Tour, but this sport is in incredible danger and has to be saved. We need something more helpful than the fact that Floyd's mother, Mennonite or not, believes he's a good boy.

Posted by: Chris at Jul 27, 2006 4:59:04 PM

This feeding frenzy really reinforces the issues highlighted by Vrijman's report on the allegations against Lance:

    The report recommended convening a tribunal to discuss possible legal and ethical violations by WADA, which is headed by Dick Pound, and to consider "appropriate sanctions to remedy the violations."

My company tests people for drug use before hiring them; I can only imagine the legal firestorm they would be in if they behaved the way WADA, the TdF and that laboratory have. Until there's conclusive evidence, none of this info should be leaked to anyone.

And as for Greg Lemond, guess we can see why he and Lance never got along. Greg's going to look mighty stupid if this is a false positive due to lowered epitestosterone levels. What a punk.

Posted by: Jason at Jul 27, 2006 5:06:53 PM

Interestingly, on the question of whether cortisone would skew the tests, Don Catlin (of the UCLA testing lab) is cited by the NY Times in their most recent online article as saying cortisone would not affect the t/e ratio.

That differs from what John Eustis had said on ESPN, but I certainly don't know who is right.

Posted by: Phil at Jul 27, 2006 5:15:24 PM

I thought that the yellow jersey and the stage winner were tested after each day of racing. If that is true wouldn't they have a sample from Landis from earlier in the tour when he was in yellow that would establish a baseline for his T/E ratio and amounts of each hormone?

Posted by: jkalla at Jul 27, 2006 5:55:23 PM

Read the interesting article on starvation and refeeding leading to precipitous elevation in testosterone levels.


J Appl Physiol 88:1820-1830,2000
Endocrine markers of semistarvation in healthy lean men in a multistressor environment
Friedl KE et al.

Posted by: susan at Jul 27, 2006 6:41:05 PM

Has anyone seen Forde's RIDICULOUS piece? I just sent an email to clarify that Landis is not a cyclist who came out of NOWHERE to win the Tour.
http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/columns/story?id=2531597

Posted by: Marianne at Jul 27, 2006 7:13:42 PM

Altitude has an effect on testosterone also

http://ajpendo.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/290/6/E1078

Posted by: jkalla at Jul 27, 2006 7:18:58 PM

i am amazed completely - first off - why is this public if its going to be rechecked - second - why would anyone continue to use these drugs when they know it will be checked and be made public - seems a foolish thing to me to do so - very foolish - and lastly - had anyone ever thought of the idea that someone may be adding something to the samples -
all the charges of doping within the ranks of cycling of late have been for our reading displeasure nothing more than a type of finger pointing - no real solid evidence has been reported - what has is marginal at best - where is the real proof - the what was taken - when - by whom - where did they get it - the i saw him do this - or the i provided this for him -
we should all take a step back here and use some common sense and wait until the second sample has been tested and lets hear some real solid proof that would stand up in a court of law before making judgement upon landis - do we not believe in innocent until PROVEN guilty? a reasonable doubt???

Posted by: jo at Jul 28, 2006 8:28:12 AM

I agree that, obviously, we need to wait for confirmation, but I can't say I'm upset with LeMond's comments -- they're realistic and dead on. It's not like this is a rarity in cycling. Let's face it: where there is smoke, there is probably fire. LeMond also said yesterday that he hopes this is the one case in a hundred where it turns out to be a false test. I'm with him on that -- I thought stage 17 was inspirational -- but I wouldn't put money on it.

LeMond is right: if the second test comes back positive, Landis can only redeem himself by coming clean and telling the truth.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 28, 2006 10:37:59 AM

It may be that the testing method for testosterone is much less accurate than we are assuming. This from a paper about the statistical analysis using the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio:

    In the short term, the bar
    for urinalysis of testosterone doping must be set much higher
    (T/E much higher than 6). The threshold should be determined
    in light of the number of athletes to be tested, pegged
    to the number of false positives that are acceptable to society,
    and based on the limitations of current laboratory methods.
    If the sizes of current databases are too small to allow
    for good estimates of proportions above large thresholds, then
    the laboratory test should be suspended until such information
    becomes available.

Much about how this has been handled (leaks, the lab's connection to L'Equipe, officials that can't resist making premature comments) suggests that the nuanced but influential factors cited in the above paper have not been taken into account in the current process.

Another factor that didn't make it into Lemond's remarks and argues for silence rather than pontificatiing, is that in this ratio test of T/E, a number of sources are reporting that Landis' Testosterone levels were normal and it was his Epitestosterone levels that were abnormally low. That may not be true, but it is just another way the test can theoretically produce a false positive. I'd prefer Lemond to take a cue from Lance and wait to hold forth on what a tragedy this is till the actual tragedy arrives; anything else is smearing Landis by association.

Posted by: Jason at Jul 28, 2006 2:52:37 PM

Greg LeMonde, although apparently uncorrupt in the area of doping during his racing years, has his own tragic flaw. His bitterness at not having the record breaking career he thinks he "deserved" has made him an envious and judgemental curmudgeon. He reminds me of the sports old timers one sees in TV spoofs ... "In my day we didn't have baseball gloves - we strapped a piece of cardboard to our hands and and took grounders 'til our fingers bled...and we were better than these young whippersnappers of today."
He could be the voice of reason- an elder statesman in a sport that needs one. Instead he is above it all. He comes just short of saying .."This sport sucks since I left it ." His attitude towards today's cycling and its problems is self-serving and counterproductive. I am one cycling enthusiast who respects his past accomplishments but questions his character and his motives.

Posted by: steve prince at Jul 29, 2006 12:10:08 AM

You would have to be an idiot to inject something that would show up in testing, would have no short term physical benefit, would take away your first Tour de France title (after proudly standing on the stage with your daughter), and disgrace you before your family and friends, and then subject yourself to attacks by the papparazzi- oops I mean the PRESS.

Oh wait a minute, everybody does it- right?

So: GUILTY! Yeah right. So-called journalists might do better by waiting for the results on th B test, checking the science and investigating where the fabulous lab that's testing Landis gets its funding. Oh yeah, this is the same lab (at Châtenay-Malabry) in France which backed up the failed charge on Armstrong's supposed doping.

As Deep Throat once said, "Follow the money".

Posted by: JD at Aug 2, 2006 1:21:05 AM

Who would have the most to gain if Landis was disqualified?

Posted by: Paladin at Aug 6, 2006 12:23:32 PM