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February 28, 2007

Liggett on Landis: "I believe he will win his appeal"

cbs4denver.com | Voice Of The Tour De France Supports Floyd Landis

Appearing in Colorado, voice of the Tour (in English) Phil Liggett said Monday he thinks Floyd Landis will be cleared of the doping charges he faces.

Liggett said he had spoken with Landis during the Tour of California:

“I ran into Floyd and we had a very quiet one-on-one around the dinner table ... He's so angry. During the week he announced his defense policies. There have been mistakes made on the testing and I believe he will win his appeal.”

Liggett was appearing at an expansion of Wheat Ridge Cyclery, co-owned by former 7-11 pro rider Ron Kiefel.

Landis, of course, faces disciplinary hearings after a urine sample from last year's Tour came back with an elevated epitestosterone-to-testosterone ratio. For mindboggling detail on what's going on in the case, check in with Trust But Verify.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 28, 2007 in Top Stories | Permalink


Thanks, Phil. But we who believe in Floyd Landis' innocence need you, of all people, to come forth and make some noise. Floyd is no Lance Armstrong with the powerful personality. Floyd needs a spokesman who is in the cycling business to speak up and call the testers, be they French or whatever, questionable at the least in their intent and their methodology. You need to try engaging the media big time to, hopefully, embarrass the testers while giving them an out by admitting the tests could have been tampered with or mixed with others, etc. Please do what you can to release this decent man from those who will ultimately ruin his life. Thanks from all who follow your broadcasts.

Posted by: wesley at Mar 1, 2007 11:50:43 AM

Thanks for your vocal support of Floyd. I wish more people who believe he is innocent would voice their opinion.

Posted by: SAM at Mar 2, 2007 9:32:00 AM

Hope you're right Phil! And when Floyd is back in form, I can't wait to hear you shout "Floyd is turning over his pedals in anga, and he's leaving nothing but cahnage in his slwipstream!"

Wesly - I share your sentiments. Although, while Floyd doesn't have Lance's "legend cred" (yet), in his current battle I think Floyd has shown that he is every bit as determined as Lance. And I'm not convinced that Phil should be the one sounding the bullhorn for Floyd. At this point in the legal process, Floyd's MO should be to speak softly and carry a big, smart, assertive attorney - just like he has been. Then let the facts speak for themselves after it's all sorted out. And then, I think I'd rather see Bob Roll sound the smear campaign against the testers! That's no disrespect to Phil - but he's gotta keep it squeeky clean at this point in his career. We know Bobke can be more irreverent - which is what the situation will call for when Floyd is cleared of the charges. And spoken from the heart of an American cycling fan, as only Bobke could.

Posted by: bi riyda at Mar 2, 2007 3:54:19 PM

You know, I really hope this is true. I don't think it will matter much in the grand scheme as he'll never be allowed to race the TdF again. He simply won't be invited and after this ASO/UCI stuff settles down, any marked riders probably won't be signed to pro-tour (or whatever replaces the top division) contracts as it may cost the team invites to big races. Kind of like Tyler, he's in the clear but no pro-tour team will touch him. I like Floyd though, he seems like a good guy, I don't want to believe he's a doper but protocol errors are kind of like not having the miranda rights read properly. It doesn't explain how the testosterone showed up but he might get to keep the trophy.

I do have to ask myself though, Tyler seemed like a really good guy and I'd have never believed that he'd dope but the evidence was huge and now I don't think you could convince me that he didn't dope. It's a bit more of a nuance with Floyd and the testosterone. I don't want to believe he'd cheat but you'd have to convince me that a doctor or lab worker some how tampered with his sample. So the lab knew his name or the same test was done by the same technician, or some other protocol violation happened, am I to believe that a low paid lab worker with nothing to really gain intentionally screwed up the test or tampered with his sample? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, Lance? FLoyd? Basso? Ullrich? with multimillion dollar contracts and endorsement deals? Sure, it's easy to see them maybe doing something when nobody is looking, some anonymous lab grunt? I don't know..

Posted by: Vince at Mar 4, 2007 7:09:36 PM

"Say it ain't so, Joe"
Like the apocryphal kid and shoeless Joe Jackson, I so want the truth to be Floyd's innocence.
I am familiar enough with the technology (engineer and pathologist) that I know the tests themselves are at high probability of being correct. That leave my hopes hanging on sample tampering (deliberate) or sample swaps (accidental).

The problem is the testing methodology in the field. Rather than testing a few riders per day with no ability to back up assertion of doping beyond the results of a single test, they need to get a sample on every rider every day. For cost matters (if that is really relevant to the total budget), not every sample need be tested, but all samples can be stored on liquid nitrogen for later review if necessary. If only we know Floyd's whizz-quiz results from the day before and the day after the alleged results then we'd have a pretty good notion of the veracity of the single day's results. By collecting samples every day and using separate but parallel chains of custody (different people, labs, locations) then the possibility of accidental or deliberate sample swaps becomes a logistic impossibility.

That was one hell of an inspired ride. I so want it to be true. I just wish the Frenchies had conducted things in a manner that would not leave room for doubt either way.

Posted by: nevins at Mar 5, 2007 1:59:32 PM

The only one casting doubt on the process / lab / etc is Floyd. His public defense appears to be swaying the opinions of some, will he be able to confuse enough people in high enough places....?

Posted by: jon at Mar 13, 2007 5:13:41 AM

The only one casting doubt on the process / lab / etc is Floyd. His public defense appears to be swaying the opinions of some, will he be able to confuse enough people in high enough places....?

Well that's one perspective, but the people in high places, say pat McQuaid, seem confused enough already. And since the lab didn't seem to follow much of its own stated protocols, I find that problematic. Who's watching the watchers?

But maybe you're right jon and things like the questions around Floyd's tests or the archiving of Operation Puerto should be ignored: there's no problem with how cycling, the European courts, or the media treat doping. Bang up job-- just ask Jan Ullrich.

Posted by: cyntax at Mar 14, 2007 11:55:00 AM

If I remember correctly, Floyd had his own representatives present for the testing of the 'B' sample.... There was no dispute about process at the time! Why is Jan making repeated legal attempts to try and ensure there is no DNA test between the bags of blood in Spain and the sample taken directly from him. Believe me or not, I really do wish that Jan was innocent, to me, his behaviour appears otherwise. Operation Puerto is unfortunatley constrained due to the lack of doping-in-sport laws in Spain at the time, be careful not to confuse this shelving of the 'public health case' with innocence of the sports people involved. If we give up on doping, we lose the essence of competition, and end up with only entertainment. Many will still happily vaccuosly sit there and be entertained, but entertainment can never get close to the beauty and inspiration present in competitive sport. This is why we cannot be soft on doping. If there is no competition, there is no sport.

Posted by: jon at Mar 20, 2007 6:21:00 AM

No one's arguing that we should give up on doping, it's interesting that you conflate valid criticisms of the currently flawed system with a complete retreat from the policing of doping in cycling.

I find your point that Landis had a representative on hand to be spurious at best. Consider for example that while processing Floyd's sample the LLND lab mistakenly assigned one of the other record numbers of a different rider that was being tested that very same day to Floyd's sample. Such a mistake is not going to be evident to Floyd's representative but clearly demonstrates that the LLND lab has serious chain of custody issues. Once the process is revamped to be transparent and beyond reproach, then we can make progress with controllig doping. Right now the labs, and the various cycling organizations are more concerned with the appearence of controlling doping than actually controlling it.

And I would in turn caution you not to rush to assume guilt while the people doing the policing use faulty procedures. If you design a bad system, you get bad results. That means that you catch the innocent with the bad, creating the kind of drama and distractions that we currently have, while many of the truly guilty go free. I find little beauty and less sport in such results.

Posted by: cyntax at Mar 20, 2007 12:57:08 PM