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July 27, 2006

Landis speaks: Denies doping

SI.com | Austin Murphy: Landis denies doping allegations

Floyd Landis, seemingly the invisible man since the UCI said a rider had tested positive during this year's Tour, has spoken to SI.com's Austin Murphy.

Landis says he's a realist, and “can't be hopeful” that the B sample will measure differently from the A. Landis says he'll work with Spanish doctor Luis Hernandez, who has defended other riders in high testosterone cases, all successfully.

Landis offers two possible contributors to the positive: the cortisone treatment we've all heard about, and a thyroid condition he says has led him to take a daily dose of thyroid hormone.

I note that, as of 4:36, BelieveFloyd.com has been registered and parked. CafePress t-shirts can't be far behind.

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


The craziness has now begun...

I found this from another site.


Posted by: e at Jul 27, 2006 5:56:36 PM

I don't believe he did it.

There are too many question marks in this already. I have a Ph.D. in bioanalytical chemistry so I understand all the places where this analysis can go wrong (there are quite a few). Normal testosterone and low epitestosterone (Did he take the
non-epitestosterone patch?).

Just had an amazing performance (Stage 17), so what kind of effect does that have on those levels (likely hasn't been studied)?

He is an elite athlete with training records on public display. Why would someone who would be tested to the gills do something like that.

Some of the data they use is smoke and mirrors, I say go for the smoking gun or go home. Some of these medical tests aren't 100% conclusive.

In the end, I just don't think he did it, but that doesn't sell papers. If someone is found with doped blood or a syringe stuck in his arm, then he's guilty. But I just think there are a lot of sources of possible errors that aren't fully understood that are ruining careers to appear to crack down on doping.

Posted by: Shawn Mansfield at Jul 27, 2006 6:09:48 PM

I wonder why the ICU was so fast to name names when it does the sport of cycling no good at all to have such public controversy surrounding it.

Like many others who saw Floyd put in a gutsy tour I'm having trouble believing these allegations. But, even if the first sample tested positive why create such a media feeding frenzy? The ICU could have quietly conducted the second sample test before they released the details to the media and brought Floyd down. Now if he is cleared people will only remember the drug controversy surrounding him and not his terrific performance.

Posted by: Angela at Jul 27, 2006 8:22:06 PM

Great question Angela. Technically the UCI didn't disclose that it was Landis, they just said enough so that everyone knew it was one of the podium finishers. But let's look to UCI president Pat McQuaid for that answer about the feeding frenzy his organization helped create:

    McQuaid said he is determined that the UCI will eradicate the specter of doping in cycling, but reaffirmed his commitment to due process... "Also, we know that the French laboratory [where the testing was done] has a close connection with [French sports daily] L'Équipe, and we did not want this news to come through the press, because we are sure they would have leaked it."

Does this sound like an organization that knows what it's doing? Almost in the same breath that McQuaid asserts their commitment to due process he turns and admits that the lab has such a conflict of interest that it can't be trusted to keep preliminary results confidential. So do we switch to a professional lab, out of commitment to due process, or do we keep using this one?

Well, apparently if you're the UCI, you keep rewarding these leaks by leaving the business of testing athletes in the hands of people who can't be trusted to not go running to L'Équipe with the next juicy tidbit. I have to say I'm not surprised that cycling can't seem to shake doping. Its inability to maintain control of the testing process and the leaks demonstrates a reactive mindset, and one that will always be playing catch-up, whether it's with leaked info, cutting edge doping techniques, or whatever.

And I don't believe Landis did it either.

Posted by: Jason at Jul 27, 2006 11:56:09 PM

If you missed his audio comments on the teleconference, you can listen to the whole thing at velonews.com (which I found to be a better file than the one at ESPN).

I found it reassuring - albeit heartbreaking - to hear him, same old Floyd. He's so straightforward and down to earth. I'm just a girl in the world, but I believe him.

Posted by: Julie at Jul 28, 2006 12:24:31 AM

This is all beginning to sound like the Tyler Hamilton doping episode. Accusation followed by denial followed by confirmation followed by denial followed by legal challenge upholding the suspension followed by more denial. Was Tyler lying all this time or is the testing protocal really that flawed. Is Floyd surprised that he tested positive or simply surprised that he got caught. Way too many questions with way too few answers. I hope that this gets resolved conclusively but I fear - much like Tyler's case - that it never will.

Posted by: stellan at Jul 28, 2006 11:06:58 AM

I posted about what I believe on Bike Hugger. I arrived at that after a tough, low, morning and then a hard bike ride.

Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 28, 2006 12:44:02 PM

Question: Could Landis be stupid enough to dope on a day he would expect to be tested if the dope actually did it's job?

Answer: He was stupid enough to lose ten minutes the day before simply by forgetting to eat ... so in my mind, he's stupid enough to do anything.

No one wants to believe their hero is a junkie. All sorts of excuses will be arrived at for him - the test isn't fair, he has a doctor's note etc etc etc - but the simple fact is this: there is a rule. Riders agree to abide by the rules. If they don't like the rules, get another profession.

The damage junkies have done to this sport must never be forgotten. If some of you believe that Landis is wrongly convicted - well blame the junkies, it's because of them that the rules have to be tough.

As for Landis' excuses - he was tested how many times on this Tour? He failed how many times?

Posted by: fmk at Jul 28, 2006 12:47:56 PM

The only people I believe about whether they used drugs are David Millar and Jose Canseco! That's a classic line.

Not Ullrich, Basso, Hamilton, Heras, McGwire, Armstrong, on and on and on!

Posted by: R & B at Jul 28, 2006 1:15:11 PM

At the moment, I am not buying his story. If his levels are naturally high, then where is the historic data to show this? He has been racing for tons of years, and so there would seem to be many past tests. Furthermore, I agree with others who wonder if physical activity has an effect on levels. This should be very easy to obtain - why hasn't it?

Overall, I am surprised that Landis and his team were caught off guard. Everyone knows that testosterone is a standard test, and so each rider would presumably know their levels.

Posted by: John at Jul 28, 2006 2:03:33 PM

We would all do well to try and maintain a little skeptical objectivity and not jump to conclusions (as hard as that is right now):

    "Andrew Pipe, a physician and medical and scientific adviser to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports in Ottawa, says that synthetic testosterone is normally injected, but taking it in the middle of an athletic competition would have little effect in boosting performance."

If Landis were actually "using" testosterone, it seems more likely that he would have been doing it in the months of training leading up to the Tour, not the night before a particular stage. Does this mean he can't have been doping? Of course not. But it seems imprudent, at the very least, not to reserve judgement until more information is available.

Posted by: Jason at Jul 28, 2006 2:33:25 PM

IMHO these so called test labs have as much credibility as the UN or the EU. They've been in league w/ L'Equipe to get LA for years so the fact that yet another americain got the gold was too much for them to handle. I suspect that corruption in WADA is as endemic as doping is in cycling.

Posted by: Bobby at Jul 28, 2006 7:24:54 PM

I have a firm Prejudice concerning this French lab. It has already proven to be prejudice toward any US Cyclist. They unjustly pointed there finger at Lance, most likely for profit. An investigation of there bank account should be open post 2006 Tour de France and prior Tours. There actions should be frozen until this conflict of interest with Le Equipe has been settled by UCI. Additional: Greg Lemond: should keep silent until all facts are in……………….

Posted by: Kenny C at Jul 28, 2006 8:54:04 PM

I was wust watching Floyd on Larry King Live. They talked to Lance by phone and he has the same opinion of the lab as we do, Kenny. I smell something rotten here.

Posted by: Bobby at Jul 28, 2006 9:36:58 PM

Follow the money? Then let's make sure all of the money is followed.

At the moment, I reserve opinion on the guilt or innocence of all involved. But I have a nagging feeling that one aspect of this situation is going unexamined.

Premise 1: Motive for doping is Money. If I recall correctly, individuals closely involved with professional cycling commented that the amount of money in cycling drives doping, to the point that doping is almost a necessity for any cyclist. I'll agree to this premise, refer to behavior in other professional sports (track and field, baseball, etc) to establish the pattern. But additionally, monetary rewards don't have to be in play for folks to dope; the local gym has examples of amateurs willing to take the chemicals in order to produce results. Additionally, refer to all the ads for diet/weightloss magic bullets. This sets the stage that we humans (though I'm not implying all) are willing to use chems to create desired results.

Premise 2: Motive for finding dopers in cycling IS ALSO Money. I admit I have no knowledge of the exact business relationship between the testing lab and the cycling/anti-doping organizations, but I'll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that the lab is not donating its services; not and stay in business, that is. Evidence exists that there is a financial aspect to testing; it's implied in the press that a less-than-conclusive test on T/eT ratio was ran on Sample A, because the conclusive test is much more expensive than the less-than-conclusive test. So, money is in play on this side of the doping/anti doping equation. If money weren't in play and if the cycling bodies want a truly clean sport, wouldn't the cycling bodies want the more conclusive test run every time? Additionally, wouldn't the cycling body want every cyclist tested after every stage/race?

What does this mean? It means there's a valid question about the business motives of the lab doing the testing. As stated above, if money weren't an issue, every cyclist tested everytime. In the lab's perspective, what do you call a situation when a cyclist isn't tested after a race? A lost revenue opportunity. That's right, any time a rider isn't tested, that's money the lab won't realize.

If we're going to consider the cyclist's motives for doping, then we must question the lab's motive in catching dopers. Here's a potential train of thought taking place at the lab: positive tests create the image of a dirty sport, which will create the image that more testing is needed; the more testing (and more-costly testing) that is needed, the more revenue/profit is created.

The common image is that a scientist/engineer/lab-type is a dispassionate seeker of the truth. I'm one, and I've been around enough to know that this isn't always the case. Money/greed can skew scientist's ethics just as easily as it skews the athlete's ethics. Additionally, it's a good bet that the lab employs business types (sales, finance, etc); the scandals associated with the late 90's/ early '00s stock market crash are examples where a business' ethics aren't always perfect.

What have I endeavored to establish? Well, motivation to cheat exists, but the motivation isn't limited to the athletes. If the motivation of the athlete is in question, the motivation of all involved should be examined.

Three things are actually measured when the experiments are ran:
1. Whether the athlete has chemicals in the body.
2. Whether the test is valid.
3. Whether the lab performed the test correctly.

1 and 2 are well discussed in the media. There's motivation for an athlete to dope, and there is a more conclusive test for T/eT ratio.

What isn't discussed is number 3; could the lab have got it wrong. Question:
Why are only two samples taken? And why are these samples only tested by one lab? At least one rider has questioned the actions and motivations of the lab during a previous testing controversy. Why not try to remove this question from the equation?

Here's a quick, first-crack at an idea: Take more samples and have results cross-checked by another lab. Of course, an arbitration procedure would be needed if the two labs disagree; might be a third set of samples is sent to a third, mutually-agreed upon lab for a final disposition.

Posted by: L at Jul 30, 2006 11:07:33 AM

I'm not too concerned about financial motives of the labs - unless they're only paid for positives, or paid MORE for them. If they're cutting corners and/or doing shoddy work, the damage to their reputation is going to do a lot more to hurt them financially than what they might gain in the short run.

I can't tell you if the protocols that are followed are ideal, but the way it's done for cycling is the standard for all Olympic sports that subscribe to WADA regulations (ie, NOT baseball - and guess what, it's not an Olympic sport any longer).

So far I have heard nothing about the protocols that were used in the TdF that are different from other sports that I follow. But once you start sending same samples to multiple labs it become much harder to establish the proper protocols are followed. Not also that they can only test at WADA-accredited labs and only one such lab exists in France.

I'm just a lay observer, but what they've been doing seems reasonable to me.

Posted by: noelle at Jul 31, 2006 8:38:08 AM

Just wondering if anyone has (in the likely event that 'B' Sample results, as they usually do, support theose of the 'A'), had a shot a recalculating the TdF results. I mean points, stage time bonuses, the whole thing. Is it as simple as saying Oscar will be named the winner?

Posted by: Jeff at Aug 2, 2006 12:24:20 PM

is it possible the sample was tampered with?

Posted by: chris at Aug 2, 2006 1:36:06 PM