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Floyd Landis - response to drugs test result

kjg's picture

Floyd has responded to both the failed drug test result as well as the media coverage and the UCI's handling of the whole situation on his blog.

http://www.floydlandis.com/blog/2006/08/04/175/

He states that:

The T value returned has been determined to be in the normal range. The E value returned was LOW, thus causing the skewed ratio.

A point that he does not feel has been fairly reported by the press or the UCI.

At this point in the sport of cycling it is hard to know what to think and we will probably never know for sure however I think I choose to take Floyd at his word, because if you can't do that then there seems little point in watching the Tour at all.

I think one point that may be missed is that the Tour is gruelling and hard and an amazing achievement drugs or no drugs!

Discussion welcome, I say let's give the guy a chance!

Comments

roadskater's picture

Floyd Landis T/E Hee Your Exogenous Zones

I wondered when we'd get our first Floyd Landis comment! I've been holding off waiting on more results, but the NYT article last week also reported on our sidebar articles from New Zealand Radio suggesting the presence of synthetic testosterone, I think it was, didn't sound good. But until we get more sources and he's had his chance at spinning the results for the cycling powers that "has been," I like hoping it was all clean. I think I may have to eventually give that up, but for now I like that hope, and I'll enjoy that incredible ride a bit longer until I find out, silly me, I was wrong to think it was real. Santa Claus.

A couple of other thoughts come to mind, the first being I wonder how hard it would be to spike Floyd's whatever to give him some testosterone without his knowledge. It would be a pretty evil thing to do, indeed, and might make a good story line for a television movie starring some Olympathetic athlete or some smartypants baseball son of a hero. I wonder if FL might eventually even list that as a possibility someday. He certainly has hired lawyers that have worked for convicted dopers.

Secondly, I wonder how you pass all of those tests and then miss one. How does it make sense to take testosterone knowing you have been tested and will be tested, especially if it works! I'll say that finish when he got six minutes back he did not seem the usual Floyd Landis, not that I know him that well, but he's usually more cool dude and he was definitely more edgy it seemed, almost violent in a way, at the end. He almost got into a tussle with one guy that was holding on to him trying to protect him I think (helpfully or not). This doesn't prove anything, but sure made it less of a shock that he was found to have ample amounts of testosterone.

Thirdly (did I say a couple of things?), as Tim has indicated elsewhere (hope I represent it well) and I had to think through a bit, perhaps some riders pass the tests because they know how to mask what they're doing. If one day you mess up the masking, you might get caught. So perhaps all the alcohol messed up the masking rather than creating a false positive.

In any case it sure did put a giant hole in USAmerica's TDF celebration balloon, and it is not right that an A sample alone should be announced to anyone. I think Floyd was right to say the second sample would probably be the same, so that if it is, it's no biggie, and if it's not is a big wow good result.

I'm sure it's just the old English teacher in me, or as some closest friends say, the should have been a lawyer in me, but I note a repetition here...

This evidence supports my assertion that I did not use testosterone to improve my performance. I emphatically deny any claims that I used testosterone to improve my performance.

Ok, so should I ask, "what did you use testosterone for, if not to improve your performance"? But in the next paragraph, he says...

All I can say at this time is that I did not take testosterone, so there must be another reason for the result, as leaked by the UCI. 

The English teacher in me gets great joy in reading about "leaked" urine test results, too! I really like how he's unequivocally denying this, but I remember reading Tyler Hamilton's denials as well.

This bit about the exogenous testosterone suggested by the carbon isotope ratio test is most troubling, for as I understand it, the human form of testosterone is chemically different from some others. (I read a great article on this and didn't post it or bookmark it, but I'll look for it.) But who knows what voodoo true or not the dreamweavers will be crocheting to keep us warm and safe.  

I hope I can keep my dream as long as I can, but ultimately I would really like to be able to reach a point of at least thinking I know. Someone said that this no-drugs debate is like the no-professionals debate of the 1970s. They were saying the genie and all that and there's no way to catch them so let it roll, let 'em dope it up, and see who's best at all of it, including the chemical management. I'm not ready for that, but it seems the dopers are ahead of the testers at least for now.

If drugs became legal, at least, when it's all done, maybe someone could write a book, "Your Exogenous Zones." I hope it doesn't come to that.

roadskater's picture

Links on Cycling Doping,Testosterone, Carbon Isotope Analysis

OK I haven't found the original article I saw on the Carbon 12 and Carbon 13 isotopes and how this figures into testing for whether testosterone is from one's "own organism" (endogenous) or from outside that organism (exogenous). One good article with a long thread is found here...

 

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2006/08/01/testosterone_carbon_isotopes_and_floyd_landis.php 

 

The basic reactions are there, most of them. It's interesting how reasonably some folk say let 'em dope up, who cares. To them there's not much difference in training and diet for performance than in other things one can do. Some just think there's no way to catch most of it.

 

A really interesting angle is somewhat on these lines...all was lost and Floyd got caught trying something he didn't understand. I'm probably extrapolating from what was said by one responder on the thread above, but not too far. Others seem to feel they all dope and sometimes they just goof on the dose and get caught. Crazy! But then there's an article that was released during the tour, supposedly from one who knows and speaks frankly about what happens...a German doctor, Kurt Moosburger...look for the title, "Jaksche's doctor: drug use common":

 

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2006/jul06/jul07news3

 

He points out that you can do mountain stages without doping, but it knocks you out for 3 days or so, and thus you "need" some help...

 

To help recover, testosterone and human growth hormone can be used. "Both are made by the body and are therefore natural substances," he said. "They help to build muscle as well as in muscle recovery." 

Dr Moosburger explained how it was done. "You put a standard testosterone patch that is used for male hormone replacement therapy on your scrotum and leave it there for about six hours. The small dose is not sufficient to produce a positive urine result in the doping test, but the body actually recovers faster." 

 

The doc points out once again what we all must remember, that hyperathletes are genetic anomalies (an excuse used by the less gifted for why not dope up?). It's all about oxygen in the blood it seems.

 

"The supply of oxygen to the blood decides what the body is capable of in terms of fat- and carbohydrate metabolism. This capacity is mostly genetically determined.The muscles of athletes who are able to reach the top level of sport can carry about 60 millilitres per kilo per minute in an untrained condition. That of an average person is only about 40 millilitres per kilo. In order to be able to keep up with the world's best, it must be 85 to 90 millilitres. 

 

(I added the emphasis, as it points out some figures for how different great athletes are in an untrained condition from the rest of us in our untrained, and likely trained, condition.)

 

Moosburger covers EPO and says it's still in use, something of which I was unaware, thinking it was entirely detectable now:

 

EPO helps oxygen carrying capacity, and has long been the performance enhancing drug of choice in endurance sports. "It enables you to hold the haematocrit of the blood in the upper level of what's allowed for the whole season. Before the EPO test, for example, athletes injected 4000 units three times per week. Now they inject a small dose almost daily."

 

And of course, they've been catching teams with transfusion machines for doping for years now, and the reason is...  

 

...blood doping via transfusion would give an athlete a five percent boost for two to three weeks.

 

I think I quoted most of that article, so please go visit the page and take a look at their page.

 

All in all, I will eagerly await some solid discussion of these techniques, and especially will be interested in what Landis' team have to offer in defense, but the more I learn, the less likely it seems he'll be able to explain this satisfactorily, even if he is innocent of knowingly having taken synthetic testosterone.

 

One thing strikes me as extremely odd. I assume that every team regularly administers shots, drinks, rubdowns, and more. Were they to spike a rider, with or without his knowledge, they'd know they'd get the publicity of the win, with all the consequences falling upon the rider, whom they would then be compelled by the pro rules to fire, thus coming clean with no responsibility to defend a rider not on their team. It seems an out of balance system of reward and risk.

 

eebee's picture

Dismantling the Doping Mess

Wow, Blake. That was one heck of a write-up. I think you answered many of my questions about this whole doping hubbub.

 

The most annoying thing to me about all this is how vague the testing rules seem to be. It begged the question: how would a regular couch-potato's random drug testing measure up against what UCI deems within 'normal' range?

 

Another question: what the heck was Landis thinking?! Why draw attention to yourself with such an astounding 'recovery' from the day before's blow-out, when you know you've used a banned performance-enhancing product?  The only explanation that makes sense to me and my limited knowledge, is that maybe he didn't know. Perhaps there is a small amount of whatever-it-was that boosted his testosterone synthetically that he knew he could take 'safely', except this time he took too much? Maybe he was prolonging removing one of those patches...ouch.

 

skatey-mark's picture

Who stands to gain from all this?

My money is still on Landis to be exonerated...

 

The big question that no one has asked (to my knowledge) is who stands to gain from all this?  Like so many others have said, it seems CRAZY to me that Landis would knowlingly dope up and then turn in such an incredible performance that he'd be guaranteed to be tested.  And to do something as easily tested as testosterone, with negligible performance benefit.

 

So...  Landis had nothing to gain and everything to lose...  This isn't the first time that the TDF has gone on a witch hunt against an American that won.  Personally, I think that with Armstrong gone, they thought someone other than an American would win this year.  Since that didn't happen, the only thing they can do is tarnish the victory with allegations of doping.

 

I hope that, if the charges turn out to be false, Landis can turn around and sue somebody for slander, or something.  This just should not be allowed to happen to anyone.  The accused is presumed guilty from the start, it seems - and the burden is on him to prove his innocence.  That's not cool...

 

The title will still be Landis', but I'm sure if the TDF had their way, they'd put an '*' next to it in the record book...

timv's picture

Performance

Blake quotes Dr. Moosburger:

The muscles of athletes who are able to reach the top level of sport can carry about 60 millilitres per kilo per minute in an untrained condition. That of an average person is only about 40 millilitres per kilo. In order to be able to keep up with the world's best, it must be 85 to 90 millilitres.

For reference: Somewhere out there on the net is a chart for converting running performances to approximate VO2max capacities. I recall that our best running efforts, in the 39-ish range for 10 km, equates to the low 60s in ml/kg/min of O2.

 

Curiously, among runners VO2max values are consistently at the highest levels for middle-distance runners in the mile-to-5000m range, events which are considered to be more than half anaerobic efforts. Some marathoners have exceptional VO2max values, while others are only a bit above average (70-ish) but the ones with the highest values are typically the ones who have a four-minute mile somewhere in their running past. For decades, physiologists have tried really hard for equate VO2max to aerobic endurance capacity since this is what the classical theory predicts, but extensive experiements have shown that it correlates better to performance over a 10-15 minute span of time. For whatever that's worth...

timv's picture

T/E Hee Hee

Good stuff in this thread, Blake. I think I made that comment to you over the phone, and yes you did represent it well. To expand, there are drugs that are banned solely because they are known to be effective in masking other banned drugs. Strong diuretics are an example, since they can and have been used to mask steroids, and athletes have in fact been disqualified and suspended for testing positive for prescription diuretics. Many comments have been made over the years to the effect that the top athletes, coaches, and trainers always stay one or two steps ahead of the enforcement agents, and it's pretty clear that they know a lot of ways to get away with illegal drug use despite regular testing.

 

And Floyd's behavior makes at least some sense with that in mind. Why would he dope before a big attack when he knew that he would be tested if he succeeded? Only because he had beaten that test in the past, and felt confident that he could beat it again.

 

Like you, I want to believe Floyd. That was a heck of an effort with or without artificial assistance, and no one is claiming that riding the Tour is easy no matter what you you do. But Tyler Hamilton said exactly the same things and I wanted to believe him too, and there seems little doubt now that he was doping.

 

Point taken about training, diet, legal supplements, and living at altitude, and these being artificial performance aids. No doubt about it. My attitude from my days goofing around with auto racing is that there were safety regulations (helmet, firesuit, roll cage, competition belts, fire suppression system) because you assume that drivers are competitive enough to risk their own lives and well-being for a better chance of winning. All those extras add weight and cost and don't help you go faster in any way, and you can't count on drivers to adopt them on their own. In fact, the drivers most committed to winning would typically be the ones who are most likely to expose themselves to unreasonable risks like that. You want to reward that kind of competitiveness, not penalize it.

 

By way of parallel then, I suggest that the idea should be to take the most dangerous performance-enhancing options out of play. You know that the most dedicated and competitive athletes will take huge risks and make tremendous sacrifices to win. You'd like for them not to have to risk their lives and their long-term health to achieve that goal. But even here, there's lots of room to wiggle around and equivocate. Thinking about Floyd's necrotic hip for example, how much less likely would he have been to suffer that injury if he hadn't been on his bike 6 or 7 hours per day training? I doubt that there are any easy answers here.

 

 

roadskater's picture

2006 TDF: the year of letting go (other riders)

One more thing is in this mix for me. Yes Landis' Stage 17 was epic, amazing, incredible. Yes! Regardless doped or duped, either way. And if they're most of them doping, it was just as amazing as if none of them are. And yes I forgot to mention the funny altitude tent business, or oxygen sucking routines once can use instead (SCUBA). We all know a skater who sleeps at a higher altitude than he walks around in all day. And good on ya, I guess. Training in heat, humidity, all these factors that can by jazzed one way or another by various Rosemary Woods stretches.

 

But epic and amazing as it was, Stage 17 was made possible by the other riders and teams, particularly T-Mobile and CSC I guess, who seemed to have the best teams. Yes the Phonak squires lead out early, but those squires didn't really seem up to the squireness of the magenta pack (TMO).

 

Just as Landis had done earlier, they all let Landis go, thinking it too early, no way, we'll reel him in later. But there was one way for Klöden, for example, to win, knowing his time trial prowess. Don't let him go! Surely if they had stayed with Landis early, they would have lost by no more...wait...the radio's on as I type...Landis talk....

 

On NPR how embarrassing...someone from the NYT just said Landis was "basically unknown" before the Tour and called Stage 17 a "Disney style" comeback or something to that effect. Didn't Ol' Yeller die? I can't think of all the jokes I don't want to bother to make about this "analysis." Where's that résumé? Even I could be a happy idiot struggling for the legal tender and barking gas on intelliradio! More...Bonds passing Babe Ruth's mark would have been celebrated if only...uhh...how often should we celebrate passing the second place dude's mark, unless there some skin color motive here? Hammerin' Hank is the hero. He lived to pave the way for that rude cryopunk! Let Bonds get near that record and we'll be collecting money to pay him not to fakebreak that record! I wish him well except for his ability to play ball. I hope he has comfortable convalescence. OK I'm drifting back upward from incredulity at the usually not this inane NPR jibberjabber. Slowly. Breathe.

 

...up a level...Surely if the peleton or at least a hungry chuck of them worked together early in Landis' break they could have lost no more than they did as it was. Yes, everyone thought they'd catch him in the valley, but when it came time to get the spank on I never really saw it.

 

It seemed like another example of The Year of Yawning Dangerously. The 2006 goal must have been to see who could win the Tour most languidly, with notable solo exceptions. But I think Phonak lacked the muscle (Steely Dan words here I'm noticing, might as well say bittersweet). If Landis were more the Ali, who might've been credited with a Stage 16 Rope-a-Dope, but as it is, I guess there was no rope, just dope.

 

As Tim says, it's starting to sound like Tyler vu all over again, without that "missing twin" mumbo or whatever that was. It's starting to sound more like a mental change takes place when you think you can drive 10 mph over the limit, but there's a big bad ticket waiting for you if you go 15 mph over, then there's a cel phone call, and some kind of distressing news, and the woowoowoowoo oh no I'm having a seizure or that's a blue light.

 

I hope Floyd can come up with some solid evidence or that he'll admit it, get a bionic hip, and come back to win without drugs. But then, I just heard about power prosthetics and a comment by a guy who tested them (probably earlier this week on NPR). He said it was like stepping on the conveyor belt in the airport. Amazing.

 

Watching Bobby Cox walk, however, I don't know how much chance there is for all this comeback. But funny, it'll probably take two years, about as long as a ban (or is it actually four for the pro tour?). So now mix it all again, shake it, and look at it from the last chance perhaps ever perspective, and this little patch, and oh I can stay within 5 or 10 mph so to speak, and who knows it might come down to falling asleep or some other sliver of a moment that serves as fulcrum to our lives in the strangest ways.

 

Whatever the case, I hope we can find out more. And I am more and more certain that many many skating events are won by the few who know how to and bother to add this to the mix. Even if I'm wrong, it's what I think. Inline has so many events without testing, it's an easy field to abuse, I'd think. (If someone out there can tell me how wrong I am I'll be very happy, but I doubt many outdoor speed events have any competent testing.)

 

Maybe super-human feats are just that: not human. Maybe a free prize in the cereal box is not really free. I sure hope not.

 

Meanwhile Phonak jerseys should be available cheaply soon, if not already. And did I hear Leipheimer's moving to Discovery? Landis will be in discovery soon, too...in court.

 

That can't be fun. Can it possibly be worth it? Yes that's the wrong question if you are so convinced you will never be caught, I guess. Like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man we put on our shades in the city and morality changes when nobody knows you, nobody can see behind your shades. You can do anything! String 1369 light bulbs on the grid!

 

So I guess I'm almost there. Why would someone do something apparently so insane? Because of another insane belief, perhaps?

 

Maybe Floyd felt on Stage 16 that he was the only one who hadn't doped? Maybe he had been all along? Maybe he just wanted to show them he could destroy them and maybe he knew he would be caught, but he would have his moment, and would see them all in utter astonishment at his feat?

 

Who will ever know. I doubt we will. I'm still pulling for old Saint Nick. He lives in our hearts at least, right?

 

timv's picture

First-Hand Doping Account

Excellent rant there, Blake!

 

I was wondering if this article was online, and yes it is. Outside has some great writing in it sometimes.

http://outside.away.com/outside/bodywork/200311/200311_drug_test_1.html

 

Freud wrote that anatomy is destiny, and here was a doctor giving me a chance, in my late forties, to alter my body in the most fundamental way. It was strange, but also strangely alluring.
It had taken me a while to arrive at this moment. I was sitting in the San Fernando Valley offices of a physician whose identity I've agreed to conceal—let's just call him Dr. Jones. For reasons I'll explain shortly, my goal was to experience firsthand some of the banned performance-enhancing drugs that are often abused in the endurance sports I participate in, like cycling and cross-country skiing. The menu I had in mind included human growth hormone (HGH), testosterone, and some variety of anabolic steroid, all of which are used to increase strength and shorten an athlete's recovery time by repairing muscle cells faster. Also high on my list was that powerful stuff called erythropoietin, better known as EPO, a hormone that boosts oxygen levels in the blood by prompting the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

and...

But that doesn't bother Dr. Jones. He takes anti-aging drugs himself, and in his rapid-fire style, he told me he wasn't in the "sickness" business, as he described the work of ordinary doctors. He was in the "improvement" business.
Which is how he came to ask what I wanted to be.
"I want to be leaner, stronger, with better endurance," I told him. "I don't want more mass." I thought for a moment. "And seeing better...that sounds good, too."
He looked up from taking notes and nodded. "I can help," he said.
And so he did.

 

The thing about seeing better doesn't sound half bad to me either.

 

At the Clemmons training ride, I noticed some racer-types in team kit, whom I'm assuming were the equivalent to A- or AA-level minor league baseball players and--without knowning them or knowing a thing about them--tried to imagine what their attitudes might be. How much of their time do they spend training, how badly do they want to be at the level of the Floyds and Lances and Tylers, and how much do they believe that those guys all cheated? And how much of a moral leap would it be to decide to do it themselves?

 

Is this the athletic equivalent to what they teach soldiers about war prisoners under torture? That John Wayne didn't break in the movies and you might want to think that you'd be strong and you wouldn't break either, but the truth is that everyone breaks and you will too?

 

Oh, and about Bobby Cox: I'm led to believe that artificial hips are less limiting than knees because the hip joint has fewer degrees of freedom. Even so, Cox apparently walks better with his replacement knees than Floyd does now with his bad hip. But as you say, even if he faces a suspension, it might only add a year or so to his likely recovery time from the surgery.

skatey-mark's picture

Landis' response...

Looks like Landis is going with my "conspiracy theory"... http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/news/story?id=2541883 From the article: "There's some kind of agenda there," he told USA Today. "I just don't know what it is."
roadskater's picture

Landis: It wasn't the reindeer

Thanks for the link, Mark. I especially like this, because he did not take the chance to say there was a sliver of a chance that someone on his team did it:

 

Landis said there's "zero chance" someone on the Phonak team gave him testosterone -- either by accident or on purpose. But he didn't discount some kind of conspiracy by the UCI or WADA.

 

This is great stuff, whipping us back and forth one way and the next not knowing what to think.

 

Of all the theories, the one that helps Floyda Claus best for me is if someone on his team, especially some evil doctor of da juice, slipped the OJ (there's another guy, you must admit, if it fits, you know) in somehow somewhere. Or a funnier episode from the Date Movie version of this saga (how great an Airplane version of TDF...I guess it's already a spoof of sorts now)..."Let's get 'im dronk und put a patch on 'im vile 'e sleeps! Den ve pull it off to vake 'im later." (No I don't intend that to be a particular bad accent, just any one funny in this context.)

 

I confess I believed President Clinton the day he trotted Hillary out in the marigold yellow suit (Ha like the yellow jersey podium gals!) and made the famous "I never [blah blah] with that woman." The First Lady of Denial.

 

Landis is pretty good at the old interview stuff, I'll say, at least once he's regained his balance. If it goes like Tyler, this'll fade and whatever he presents won't get nearly the same press, especially if he's exogenouserated.

 

eebee's picture

"God Bless, Went Camping"

Funniest tactic I've seen lately of anybody trying to dodge the paparazzi...

 

"Floyd Landis' parents planted a "God Bless, Went Camping" sign in their front yard Saturday, leaving it to friends and neighbors to defend their son against the doping scandal that threatens his Tour de France title."

 

From velonews.com http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/10649.0.html, for one.

 

Good for them!! Beats getting into a high speed chase and driving your SUV into the side of a bridge.

timv's picture

Sabotage!!

While this is going on, 100m world record-holding spriner Justin Gatlin also faces doping charges. His defense: that a disgruntled and vengeful masseur rubbed testosterone cream on him without telling him.

 

The notion of testosterone cream itself isn't that ridiculous. In that Outside article that I mentioned before, Stuart Stevens talks about applying "Testocreme" daily in addition to receiving periodic testosterone injections. And it's nowhere near as strange as distance runner Dieter Baumann's 1999 claim that someone spiked his toothpaste with the steroid nandrolone.

 

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