Since a doping allegation is no frivolous matter in the sport of cycling, Floyd Landis skipped the Jay Leno show Friday night for an interview by Larry King on CNN.
“I'm going to do my best to defend my dignity and my innocence,” the Tour de France winner told King.
Landis and his advisors are waiting to see if analysis of a “B” sample matches the results of the “A” sample that showed an abnormally high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone in his urine. The two samples were taken immediately after Landis' amazing win on Stage 17.
A 1-to-1 or 2-to-1 ratio between the two hormones is considered normal. Anything over 4-to-1 indicates the athlete has been doping, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency. Landis faces losing the title and a two-year suspension from professional cycling.
Landis told King that he'd been tested six times before Stage 17 and two times afterwards. “I don't receive the results when they're negative so I don't know exactly what the numbers were but all of them were within normal ranges.”
Landis spent three years on the US Postal Service team with 7-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong. By telephone, he told King:
“If we ever suspected anything, if there was suspicious behavior or anything to lead us to believe he was a cheater, then we would have parted ways long before we did. And when he did leave he left for a better offer from another team and we had to respect that.”
Armstrong noted that the lab doing the testing on Landis' specimens was the same one involved in the L'Equipe scandal last fall.
“This is the same lab that through the independent investigation and that process would not answer the simplest of questions to the independent investigator about the ethics of what they did and who conducted the testing and what conditions were — they were done under. You know I'm a little skeptical of this particular laboratory and the report backs up that skepticism.”
Brent Kay, Landis' physician, also appeared on the show to defend his patient. He noted that testosterone — listed as an anabolic steroid by WADA — would be an unusual drug for a cyclist to cheat with during the middle of a three-week race.
“I think that's the crazy thing here. I think everybody really needs to take a step back and look at what we're talking about because testosterone is a body-building steroid that builds mass. It builds mass over long term use of weeks, months, and even years.
And, it's crazy to think that a Tour de France professional cyclist would be using testosterone, particularly in the middle of a race. It's a joke. Every sports medicine expert, physician, trainer, scientist that I've talked to in the last day really same opinion, no way, this is a joke.”
Landis also talked about the emotional rollercoaster he's been through the past two days and how his Mennonite parents are facing up to the barrage of media attention — more so now with the allegations of cheating.
“It hurt me a lot, because she lives a simple life, my father, that's the way they want to live, and it makes them happy and they don't deserve to deal with this. …
“I felt much better after speaking with my mom, because she's tough, too. Both of them are tough, and they can handle it. But I think I felt worse just because of me, because I felt like they had to answer question that they didn't know how to answer, and they should never have been brought into this in the first place.”
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