All Floyd Landis, all the time

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While we all sit around waiting for the French lab to test the “B” sample from the Tour de France, here's what's happening on the Floyd Landis front.

Nothing. But that doesn't stop the flow of information. Here's a news item, a blog about organic chemistry, the reliability of tests, Bob Roll asking questions and a video from the Steven Colbert Report:

Landis lawyer

Landis has hired Howard Jacobs of Los Angeles as his attorney. Jacobs specializes in athlete-doping cases and was Tyler Hamilton's attorney.

Jacobs issued a press release condemning the Union Cycliste Internationale for leaking the results of the “A” sample before the “B” sample had been tested. UCI didn't identify Landis, however; his team did that.

Jacobs also attacked UCI for leaking the results of a carbon isotope ratio test that found synthetic testosterone in Landis' urine. The leaks from UCI are ironic, given UCI came down hard on the French lab earlier for leaking information about a Lance Armstrong urine test.

Jacobs also attacked the UCI for talking out of turn with CyclingNews back in November 2005 over the Hamilton appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Better living through chemistry?

The issues in the Landis case have nothing to do with gear ratios, cadence, caffeine, the stuff that cyclists know about. It's all about organic chemistry. How many of us know anything about that?

If you want to learn about the chemistry behind the synthetic testosterone charges, check out “Testosterone, carbon isotopes, and Floyd Landis” in Derek Lowe's blog at Corante.  Explaining what the carbon isotope ratio test looks for, he concludes “there seems to be only one unfortunate conclusion to be drawn.”

Some commenters dug deeper, however, questioning issues of diet and the how the CIR test is validated.

Is CIR test foolproof?

At least one researcher says no. Simon Davis, technical director for UK-based Mass Spec Solutions Ltd., told the Wall Street Journal's The Numbers Guy: “Quite regularly there are errors in the isotope tests. It's a very difficult analytical technique.”

You may remember Davis' name surfacing soon after the Landis story broke. While a postdoctoral student at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he studied literature that concluded drinking alcohol could “increase the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone excreted in the urine.” That came into play with Landis' beer and Jack Daniels defense.

Short term effect of testosterone

The Stage 17 sample was only one of several Landis gave during the Tour de France, but it's the only one to come back with a non-negative testosterone-epitestosterone ratio. A common question has been, why would Landis use a substance that's only good for the long-run in muscle-building.

Dr. David Black, author of “Drug Testing in Sports,” told McClatchy News Service that a single shot of testosterone would have a “profound” effect.

“I have injected myself with testosterone in doing research, and I can tell you from personal experience that within hours, you feel a profound psychological change, a sense of well-being, aggression and energy. …You feel strong and powerful. And your endurance is definitely improved.”

Sometimes “A” and “B” don't match

Although Landis says expects the “B” sample to match the “A” sample, that isn't always the case. VeloNews examines at least a half-dozen cases where the second sample came back negative in “Savior 'B' samples a rarity.”

Bob Roll

OLN commentator Bob Roll comes out on Landis' side. After launching into a tirade against anti-doping authorities for releasing the information prematurely — before the “B” sample is tested — Roll asked three questions:

“Can one sample be nearly three times different in 24 hours than a previous sample?

“Can the body absorb, metabolize and convert any substance into a controllable sample that has been recorded to be a ratio of 11 to 1 of testosterone vs. epitestosterone — almost three times the allowable ratio in one single day?

“Can any doctor explain the findings in a way regular people can understand?”

Colbert Report

For a little humor, Steven Colbert:

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