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August 05, 2006

Landis B-sample positive: Fired by Phonak, likely to lose Tour title

globeandmail.com | Landis backup test confirms finding

Presumptive 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis was fired by Phonak today after the test of his B-sample came back positive for a high testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.

Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour, said “It goes without saying that for us Floyd Landis is no longer the winner of the 2006 Tour de France.” ASO cannot unilaterally strip Landis of the title, but must wait for the UCI to name Oscar Pereiro the Tour champion, as Denis Menchov inherited the 2005 Vuelta a España title.

Landis repeated his assertions that he is innocent, and that he'll contest the results in any way available:

“I will fight these charges with the same determination and intensity that I bring to my training and racing. It is now my goal to clear my name and restore what I worked so hard to achieve.”

Phonak offered a short statement outlining the dismissal, and saying Landis's defense is now “his personal affair.” The team promises a press conference “in the next couple of days.”

Also:

cyclingnews.com | Landis' counsel issues statement on B sample finding

Posted by Frank Steele on August 5, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

It's amazing in a country as intelligent as the USA that we can fail to realize the completely obvious. I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but Americans have one the Tour de France the majority of the last decade. It would be as simple as a spectator giving Landis a tainted water bottle or cup of Gatorade to ruin the fine reputation of America at the tour. It's the perfect set up. Landis, Herrar and Armstrong were all on the same team at one time. Herrar was found doping. The unspoken insinuation is that even Armstrong's victories are now in question. He just didn't get caught. The truth is that Landis was tested 8 other times that week and came up clean. I smell a rat here. I say the UCI goes back over footage from that leg of the race and starts investigating suspicious spectators. That is if they want to find the truth. Hang in there Landis. Hope your lawyer sees this and can use this to create reasonable doubt.

Posted by: chris at Aug 5, 2006 10:02:20 AM

Jeezus, Phil freaking Liggett was just on CNN suggesting it was the French lab that leaked Floyd's positive test result. *sigh*

Posted by: noelle at Aug 5, 2006 10:12:57 AM

Chris - sounds like you're one for conspiracy theories.

If Floyd would be stupid enough to take a drink from a random spectator on the road, he deserves what he gets. I don't think he's that stupid.

Reality check - he would have had zero reason to do so. His team car was there the whole time, dispensing bottles by the dozen.

Posted by: noelle at Aug 5, 2006 10:16:55 AM

i am in total agreement with you chris - i too smell a rat - take a look at the interview done a few years ago with greg lemond - he spoke of the officials telling him to be very careful - he was - this stinks -
phonak - glad to see they are standing behind their guy - cripe - nice guys!!!!!!

Posted by: java at Aug 5, 2006 10:17:34 AM

Unfortunately for Floyd, he's got everything to lose. This whole lab test and leaks to the media reeks of suspicion. In addition to clearing his name, he must pursue a criminal investigation - which is twice a legal and investigation load. Hang in there Floyd!

Posted by: gchu at Aug 5, 2006 11:05:48 AM

I too do not want to believe but you aren't going to be able blame it on tainted water. Testosterone breaks down completely in the digestive system. You would have to inject him or slap a dermal patch for it to happen.

Posted by: Jeff at Aug 5, 2006 11:25:30 AM

I'm not sure which is sadder: The fact that Floyd cheated, or the fact that so many people think it's always a French conspiracy. Cycling's sick and Floyd Landis is both a victim of and serious perpetrator to its sickness.

Floyd cheated. Tyler Hamilton cheated. I hope Lance didn't cheat, but maybe he just didn't get caught. As many have said in articles on this, only the idiots get caught by drug tests.

Why are people so afraid to face the difficult facts, even when faced with scientific findings? By the way, democracy is not working in Iraq and there's really no debate on global warming anymore. This falls into that category - another inconvenient truth. Do we want Landis winning the tour on "reasonable doubt"? I don't. I just want him to tell the truth. I never would have imagined him doing this, but now I'm pretty convinced that he did. There would be some solace in him behaving more like David Millar than Tyler Hamilton. So far he's chosen the wrong approach.

French labs are run by scientists. Scientists are devoted to objective methods. The UCI and the WADA - and U.S. Cycling - this isn't entirely a French investigation - will be looking at scientific reports written by scientists. They won't be judging this by reading L'Equipe editorials.

Posted by: Chris F at Aug 5, 2006 11:41:41 AM

"They won't be judging this by reading L'Equipe editorials."

That's fine and dandy to say, but when 9/10ths of this incident is leaked to L'Equipe, it's hard to get the sense of true 'objectivity'. And this isn't the first time either...after the Lance issue, this lab was supposed to have been reigned in a little bit due to ethics violations.

No matter what happens with this, I hope cycling takes a good hard look at finding a true unbiased lab, by letting some country without a big presence in the Tour handle it...maybe like Japan or something.

Posted by: Steve at Aug 5, 2006 12:17:33 PM

If Landis has no idea how these test results came back positive, then why doesn't he freakin' shut up? He says his testosterone levels are always high...it could've been the dehydration...uh, don't buy that? Well...um...maybe it was the hip or thyroid medication. It's better to shut up if you really don't know what it could be than to keep changing your story or adding to the muck.

All we will ever know, unless Landis strays from professing his innocence, is that we'll never know if he doped up or not.

Posted by: Penn at Aug 5, 2006 1:52:53 PM

Do we have anything more definitive than a text message from the Chatenay-Malabray lab as to whether the testosterone was endogenous or exogenous?

    Pierre Bordry, who heads the French anti-doping council, said Saturday that the lab found evidence of testosterone from exogenous sources in Landis' urine.

    "I have received a text message from Chatenay-Malabry lab that indicates the 'B' sample of Floyd Landis' urine confirms testosterone was taken in an exogenous way," Bordry told The Associated Press.


I'm wondering if the report itself will be made public, or would *that* be too much of a breach of protocol? Better to just talk to the press about the results without letting the public see them. Also, was Landis' testosterone level really elevated? Or was it a case (as reported by some) that his epitestosterone was abnormally low? I'm hoping to get some concrete information finally, rather than more of these summations of what's in the report.


Posted by: Jason at Aug 5, 2006 2:01:31 PM

Right... Landis never juiced up, neither did Armstrong (Google "Dr Michele Ferrari and Armstrong")... and Nixon was not a crook, and Cliton "never had sex with this woman, miss Lewinski", and Bush wants only democracy to flourish in Irak, and Gatlin drinks only Calistoga, and Bonds closes up on Hank's record drinking only orange juice ... and so on and so forth. There is one thing for sure about drug addicts: they will aaaaaaallllways deny and lie, right in your face sometimes; I know it for a fact, one of my best friend was a junky; they end up in this state of sef-denial, a dream world of sorts, where they think that the lies that come out of their mouth is the truth, a blurry and murky zone in between fantasy and reality. Add money, power and women in the mix and there you have it. It's pathetic. Let me remind you that on his first TDF win Armstrong got busted for corticoid use, he ended up giving a lame excuse of a rash on his ass to get away with it. He became much much smarter after that. Anyone who think that there was a clean TDF winner after Greg LeMond (and the start of EPO) is fooling him(her)self. And don't get me wrong LeMond was probably pigging out on some illegal stuff too.
Francois Chicoree
PS: My whole family on my mother side (of Italian origin) has been involved in bicycle racing, amateur or pro, for the past 50 years...

Posted by: Francois Chicoree at Aug 5, 2006 3:11:25 PM

I agree that there are too many conspiracy theorists. I was thrilled with Landis's victory, and after his remarkable stage win, I let everyone I knew know that it was one of the single greatest single-day sports achievements I've ever seen.

Then, when word got out that Landis's test/epitest ratio was high, I started to wonder. When word leaked that the test was synthetic, I grew angry and sad.

Should the leaks have happened? No. Should all of the testing be done in France? No. But that doesn't mean the leaks were inaccurate or that the testing was tainted.

Posted by: Mark H at Aug 5, 2006 3:16:44 PM

Right... Landis never juiced up, neither did Armstrong (Google "Dr Michele Ferrari and Armstrong")... and Nixon was not a crook, and Cliton "never had sex with this woman, miss Lewinski", and Bush wants only democracy to flourish in Irak, and Gatlin drinks only Calistoga, and Bonds closes up on Hank's record drinking only orange juice ... and so on and so forth. There is one thing for sure about drug addicts: they will aaaaaaallllways deny and lie, right in your face sometimes; I know it for a fact, one of my best friend was a junky; they end up in this state of sef-denial, a dream world of sorts, where they think that the lies that come out of their mouth is the truth, a blurry and murky zone in between fantasy and reality. Add money, power and women in the mix and there you have it. It's pathetic. Let me remind you that on his first TDF win Armstrong got busted for corticoid use, he ended up giving a lame excuse of a rash on his ass to get away with it. He became much much smarter after that. Anyone who think that there was a clean TDF winner after Greg LeMond (and the start of EPO) is fooling him(her)self. And don't get me wrong LeMond was probably pigging out on some illegal stuff too. 
Francois Chicoree
PS:
My whole family on my mother side (of Italian origin) has been involved in bicycle racing, amateur or pro, for the past 50 years

Posted by: francois Chicoree at Aug 5, 2006 3:26:48 PM

"I say the UCI goes back over footage from that leg of the race and starts investigating suspicious spectators. "

Several images of this tour stand out in my mind. You've got McEwen doing his running man impersonation after winning on Stage 6, you've got Floyd angrily punching the air after winning stage 17.

Then there is one other, much more odd image. One in which some guy in an Aquarel jumpsuit comes up to the stage winner just beyond the finish line. In front of all of the cameras, he puts his arm around the stage winner, smiles for the camera, and gives the winner a bottle of Aquarel (or maybe something else). It struck me as odd because I had never seen anyone use that opportunity for a product placement. I know that this occured on one of the mountain stages won on a solo breakaway (Schleck, Rasmussen, or Landis) but I can't remeber which one. Did anyone TiVo the tour?

Anyway, if you think about it, this would be the perfect time to discredit a stage winner. He's isolated by the press, thirsty, and in what should be a safe area, taking what should be a safe drink from a tour sponsor.

Tour security is pretty tight, but I wouldn't put it past them to allow someone into the finish area simply because the guy was wearing a sponsor jumpsuit. Or, if you want to raise the conspiracy content of this blog, then you could say that security was implicitly involved poisoning the winner.

Anyway, this opens up other questions, like is testosterone soluble in water, would it process through the kidney's and into the urine in the 30 to 60 minutes between the end of the race and the whiz quiz (urinalysis)? These are questions worth investigating, especially for Floyd's camp and the skeptical cycling media.

I doubt that we can count on the UCI's guility until proven innocent policy to conduct any further investigation. And why should they, even if Floyd was unintentionally drugged, the UCI doesn't care. From their perspective, Floyd was competing with illegal substances in his body regardless of how they got there.

Posted by: Eric S at Aug 5, 2006 3:38:14 PM

I still would like an an answer as to why? Landis would know that testosterone wouldn't help for one day- so why not think sabotage? It wouldn't be that hard to buy off an underling of the team to sabotage him... to a lot of people, not just the French, this would be worth millions...

Posted by: Shawn at Aug 5, 2006 3:58:03 PM

Jason - Floyd says on his website that the testosterone in the A Sample was normal, it was the epitestosterone that was low. Drives me nuts, how the AP (and thus all the news outlets) are reporting it as high testosterone. Floyd's statement is a start, but his people really need to get on that, calling the AP to task, if the B showed the same.

Posted by: Julie at Aug 5, 2006 5:21:40 PM

Why? It's a difficult thing to guess at. But even though I find Floyd very likable, he doesn't come across as a genius. Read the interview Dave Zabriskie did of him in Bicycling a month or so ago. They're vaguely funny, but in a pretty knuckleheaded sort of way. He's seeing the Tour slip away, he's desperate, someone says: "Dude, they say it doesn't work, but my friend took some testosterone, and ... Dude! It Totally Worked!! Just don't win the stage." I'm not saying that happened. I'm just saying that even though a rational person knows it's not a good idea, or that it won't work, doesn't mean that professional athlete whose body's in much better shape than his brain fully understands that.

Sorry, but that's 1,000 times more likely than sabotage.

Posted by: Chris F at Aug 5, 2006 5:22:34 PM

I think all sceptic Americans should take a thorough look at their athletes and their history of doping. Look at your domestic sports; NHL, NFL, NBA, even the base-ball league. Look at your track and field teams, boxers, and so on. Your athletes have the worst reputation in the world, save for the old DDR-athletes. Your sports- and antidoping organizations have always been reluctant in the fight against doping, and have covered up a lot of positive tests throughout the years. Please take the problem seriously! It cannot always be a conspiracy!

Posted by: T-Man at Aug 5, 2006 5:43:38 PM

I doubt if even Floyd Landis is dumb enough to resort to doping in order to win a stage. Jeez, they all know they're going to be tested, so what's the sense? I would bet that there's more to this story that is reaching the press; for one thing, there's not one iota of clinical proof that testosterone adds to a person's performance, unlike some other "additions." I think Floyd has got a legal case here and I hope he pursues it. I also think he was totally stupid in NOT giving a sample to a truly independent lab; the French lab has been after an American for years now, (how DARE they win it!) and they finally caught one. My gut guess is that something was added on the way to the lab - or else they're not compensating for the epistestosterone in projecting their ratios. Anything to discredit another American win. If it was me, frankly, I'd have all the bikers boycott this race in protest of the cynical lynching premature discrediting of Floyd Landis.

Posted by: dj at Aug 5, 2006 6:01:57 PM

Conspiracy Theory:

A) Phil Ligget reported on stage 18 that Axel Merx (son of Eddie,and teammate of Floyd's)called his dad and told him that Floyd was going to win stage 17 in "an incredible" way. Eddie went to a bookie (legal in Belgium) and placed a $100 bet at 75 to 1 odds that Floyd would win. If you have it recorded, go back and watch it.

B) Next, you have Floyd. 1. My testosterone is naturally high (it wasn't in all the subsiquent stages) 2. It was the Hip/Thyroid Medication(s) 3. It was the 2 beers and 4 shots of Jack Daniels 4. It was Dehydration 5. It wasn't the fact that my testosterone wasn't high in the "A" sample, it was that my epitestosterone was low.

C) Or the French lab tampered with the sample.

You choose.

Posted by: Lee at Aug 5, 2006 7:10:29 PM

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