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July 29, 2006

Landis on Larry King

Travel day today, so I'll be slow to approve comments, but I wanted to point out a couple of things from Landis on “Larry King Live” last night.

Maybe we need to come up with a different word than “suspended,” but it seems to me that if you can't race, and face possible dismissal, you've been suspended. Landis wouldn't cop to that -- he said something like that he had voluntarily stopped racing until this was cleared up -- but I believe UCI regs prohibit him from racing until then.

Landis hadn't yet approved the B-sample test, but he said that was just a matter of trying to work out his options, and to find an appropriate expert to be his representative, and that he expected to notify USA Cyling later Friday night or this morning.

Lance Armstrong called in, and was somewhat supportive, taking the opportunity to note that this is the same lab that tested those infamous samples from 1999. Armstrong says he doesn't think there's any anti-American bias behind the test: “I wouldn't say that that's the reason Floyd's going through this.”

Dr. Brent Kay is Landis's doctor, board-certified in sports medicine and internal medicine. He said it's “crazy to think a Tour de France rider would be using testosterone in the middle of the race ... It's a joke.” A member of WADA has pretty much said the same thing.

Landis said he was tested 6 times before Stage 17 (I've also heard him say 5 times), but that he isn't provided with results from negative tests, so he's not sure what his TE ratios or other values were on any of those.

Dr. Kay noted that the TE ratio test itself “is the original test that was put into effect 25 years ago,” and that WADA's website “says this is a poor test.”

Looks like the offensive may be working -- the Today show just teased the story without using the word “dope” (they used “cheating” instead).

NPR also had a 15-minute interview, which you can download as an MP3:

NPR.org | Awaiting Test Results, Landis Fears for Reputation

Posted by Frank Steele on July 29, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong | Permalink


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We all want to believe you! Like most folks, I was stunned when the news broke about the results of the Stage 17 TE ratio for Floyd. Since then, Ive been watching the active blogs and trying to gather as much information to better understand wh... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 29, 2006 8:57:42 AM


there is actually a good sports editorial in the Star Tribune that is worth reading.


it may require registration, so I will summarize. He basically says the public has come to expect any accusation is truth and that Landis was tested before and after with clean results.

Posted by: chris at Jul 29, 2006 8:30:32 AM

I've seen a lot of comments all over the web about people jumping on 'it's the same lab that tested Armstrong's 1999 samples so they MUST be biased and out to get Floyd/American cyclists'. I guess if you believe in conspiracy theories, that's a tempting and comforting thought... but I'm fairly certain that the reason this lab is being used is not because it's in cahoots against Americans, but rather because it's probably the only lab in France that is WADA-accredited (there is only one in the U.S. also - the UCLA lab).

Posted by: noelle at Jul 29, 2006 12:23:38 PM

i wish to believe Landis....but all the evidence to date points to something ...i.e. how come ALL other previous tests never revealed that he had Elevated levels of TE ratios> How come only one test shows that. How come Landis has not yet given the go-ahead to test the B sample? what options does he need to explore. just let the chips fall where they may...

Posted by: vanni at Jul 30, 2006 10:28:37 PM

I don't understand why stage winners and podium placers, and their teams, don't perform the following safeguards:
1) Collect a separate "C" sample owned by the rider that the team can send off to UCLA or somewhere for an independent carbon isotope IRMS test, and complete screening. This screening could include elemental analyses of the urine to ensure that the A and B samples weren't spiked, contaminated etc..
2) Publish all negative tests throughout the year on the team's website to establish a baseline of credibility and basic physiological numbers like hematocrit, testosterone levels etc.
2) Pay a poor biology grad student a few hundred dollars to monitor the urinalysis chain of custody from collection to analysis. I'm willing to bet that the testing labs would allow access to a student monitor.

Posted by: Jay at Jul 31, 2006 5:19:11 PM

Hard to take the French seriously here, given that the release of information is probably contrary to reasonable policy. Case in point is the story offered a year ago about Armstrong's 1999 alleged postitive urine sample. The lab, UCI and press was seriously wrong here to publish results that 1) could not be confirmed by independent testing, 2) had no chain of evidence possible as the sample should have been destroyed following the negative A sample in 1999, that is, there mere existance of the B sample was a chain of custody breech in itself.

I'm skeptical of tests that utilize physiologic ratios in a population (elite cyclists) that might very well differ from the general public.

The amount of testing seems insufficient to establish norms for such a physiologic ratio. At each stage only the jersey holders and stage winner is tested, plus two other riders at random, leaving 96% untested. This practice fails to provide adequate benchmarking of tests with subjective interpretations such as where should one set the cutoff for too much testosterone.

Further, such limited testing actually promotes drug use among those unlikely to be stage winners, who will be very unlikely to be tested at any time during the Tour. These riders are critical to the success of their team leader. Untested but doped domestic riders contribute to the success of the team leader; the doping benefits the team leader without them personally risking exposure.

Finally, since so few have been tested, how would a new winner be declaired? If Landis is canned now, can others be elevated to his spot on the podium at this late date? They would not have been subject to a similar level of testing and therefore under the UCI presumption of guilt until proven innocent cannot be considered clean themselves.

The only real solution is for every rider finishing a stage to pee in a cup.

Posted by: nevins at Jul 31, 2006 9:11:52 PM