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Floyd Landis’ Urine Fails Again And Confirms Finding Of High Testosterone

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Floyd Landis’ “B” sample proved to be just as bad as his “A” sample, as Saturday the International Cycling Union said the latest test confirmed that the now-former Tour champion had an elevated testosterone level.

Not only is Landis not considered to be the winner of the Tour de France, but his team Phonak immediately fired him and he faces a two-year ban from cycling. And you think you’re having a bad day.

Landis has vowed to fight this ruling and will do whatever he can to clear his name. The Landis defenders will continue with their conspiracy theories, many of which revolve around the belief the French lab that conducted the tests, Chatenay-Malabry, and other Frenchmen in the cycling hierarchy are out to destroy Landis. There are some variations on this theme, none of which include the one about Landis actually doing something wrong.

The Chatenay-Malabry lab – sounds like a good wine, doesn’t it? – has been embroiled in controversy before. In 2005 when French cycling newspaper L’ Equipe reported a lab had tested a 5-year old sample of Lance Armstrong’s urine and found traces of the banned substance EPO, guess what lab did the testing? If you guessed Chatenay-Malabry, give yourself a cookie.

EPO is a substance that improves the oxygen levels of the blood by raising the production of red blood cells. EPO has long been a favored substance among endurance athletes. EPO is used legitimately for cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy. Being that EPO has this legitimate and life-saving role; this substance is constantly being studied and is very available. But now, back to the Landis saga.

The fact that the same lab that has been accused of being a part of the plot to discredit Lance Armstrong is involved in this case has just added fuel to the fire of the Landis defenders.

In cycling circles there is a school of thought that believes the French will do anything – including falsifying doping results in any way possible – to discredit any non-French winner of the Tour, since a Frenchmen has not won this race in over 25 years. This sentiment seems to be confirmed by a poll that found Lance Armstrong was the most hated man in France.

It would seem that cyclists – especially American contenders – in the Tour de France would have their own “backup” system where a lab not affiliated with the Tour tests their urine AND blood. Just like people in positions of influence and power set up a blind trust to handle their financial matters, the different cycling teams could have this kind of blind trust urine and blood analysis system set up to protect their riders from French treachery.

Clean cyclists who have the trump card of a backup blood test to confirm the findings of the backup urine test would be assured to avoid the fate of Landis if they took this precaution.

If cyclists and their fans have all this time on their hands to think up all of the possible ways the French can sabotage them, surely they could come up with this simple way to protect themselves. If this feeling exists – and has existed for quite awhile – that a perfidious lab tech or French malcontent would do anything to discredit a non-French Tour winner, how is it that riders haven’t taken this simple step to have their own samples tested?

Can you think of any possible reasons why an athlete wouldn’t test their own blood and urine?

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About Sal Marinello

  • eric

    I don’t see how his other tests of the tour are negative and this one was positive. Sounds like sample tampering to me. AKA French Lab.

  • Hairynipples

    Sal – of course people have always cheated. That is why they put an UNDO button on computer solitaire games.

    Of course I have never used it.

    Dexter used to pass gas in the lane, which if wasn’t a violation of basketball rule, it certainly violated one of my personal rights.


    Jean-Piere Tricheur

  • sal m

    first, i think people have always cheated. what used to be ham-handed methods of cheating have become highly-sophisticated. the issues of what’s commonly referred to as “gamesmanship” – riding through transition areas, holding a guy’s jersey when the ref isn’t looking, stepping on someone’s foot, a simple shove – are always going to occur, and are different from doping.

    second, with regard to your question about could these events be run with out drugs….you’ve actually given me a great idea for a article, but here are my quick thoughts.

    with an event like the Tour, removing the drugs would not any real effect on spectators. the bottom line is that fans want to see a competitive and compelling event, and while the drugs allow riders to do things that they couldn’t do naturally, the drugs don’t change the nature of the event from a fan’s standpoint. i’m sure only the most hardcore Tour fan could tell you the finishing times of the given stages. all that matters is watching a close competition. removing drugs will affect the riders infinitely more than the fans.

    as a matter of fact, removing drugs will make the tour more competitive as more riders will have the opportunity to compete to win. even if most riders are currently using some form of doping, there are still those who dope better than others, giving these guys an edge over the other dopers.

    the same goes with track and field…if you read my piece about the progression of the 100-meter dash times, you’ll see that in almost 100 years the time has only been improved by about .8 seconds, and in the last 70 years by less than .5 seconds. fans watching 10 guys sprinting towards the finish line can’t perceive the speed differences between the sprinters, they just see a bunch of guys trying to be the first to break the tape. if the time is 10 seconds or 9.7 seconds, who cares and who can tell? fans just want to see a close race, the sprinters want to earn immortality and the trappings that come with being the best.

    drugs don’t help us appreciate sport, drugs just give the selfish competitiors an edge, while cheapening the accomplishments of those who came before them.

  • TN Tri Girl

    I should clarify my earlier post by saying I know there is doping going on in these amateur triathlons, but there is no drug testing at the regional levels.
    Therefore most of the cheating I witness is the more blatant kinds I described.
    I want to ask Sal a question: I’ve heard cycling experts say the Tour De France can’t be done without doping; that to clean up the sport the race has to be made easier. Do you agree? Do you think the race could be done at the current level (albeit more slowly and less consistently) without drugs? I really would like to hear what you think about this. Thanks, Christine.

  • TN Tri Girl

    You make a great point about why these innocent athletes don’t bank their own samples for their defense . . . I’ve always wonered why, if an athlete truly has no idea how a banned substance made its way into their body, they don’t offer to take a lie detector test, instantly. It might not be admissable in court but it would go a long way in convincing me. That is what I would do if I was clean and someone accused me of cheating.
    I can attest to this, since I am a competing triathlete and see cheating happening in every race, no matter how small. There is no drug testing, but there is every other kind of cheating imaginable (drafting, shortcuts, riding through trasition areas, etc.) I think, how can someone’s self respect be worth this, it’s an amateur triathlon, not the Olympics or World Championships. Not that it would be acceptable there, either. I was raised so sportsmanship and fair play are more important than results. Boy, am I dating myself. It is sickening that cheating has become so accepted.

  • sal m

    i hate being duped, but i think we all have to watch sports with a jaundiced eye.

    given the goings on with athletes in all of these sports the awards cerimonies shouldn’t be held until after the testing has been completed.

  • Mim

    It’s always dangerous to confuse strength in sport with strength of character. Floyd seems to have handed over responsibility for dealing with the doping findings to lawyers, along with his good name and all his hard earned money. He’s picked a mob of lawyers that probably don’t care whether he’s doped or not. They will however reap the benefits of a drawn out defense – unlike Floyd.

    If Floyd had sufficient moral fibre and strength of character he wouldn’t lead his friends or family into all the pain that’s to come – and he might even save some money in the process (as well as some of his shattered reputation).

    Who do you admire more, David Millar or Tyler Hamilton? Who got back into racing faster?

    If Floyd thinks he’s following Lance’s approach, he’s not. Lance didn’t ever have to face a positive test result (at least not at the time it counts, the 1999 EPO findings were too late to go anywhere) so all he was fighting in courts to show that people couldn’t prove he was a dope cheat (at least technically). Anyway, Lance had a much bigger legal and media machine (and money) behind him and is quite a different person to poor Floyd. (Yes, I feel a tad sorry for Landis, just because it’s hard not to for someone who’s weak.)

    Personally, I hate being duped and feel as if the hours I watched the TDF were wasted watching a farce. I’m happy for Periero though – he deserves the win.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in NOT being surprised after watching that critical stage, especially when looking at Floyd after the race and his face and tone of voice when he said “I came here to win” in a way that clearly meant “by hook or by crook”. (Note the number of times commentators and reporters used the word “unbelievable” about that leg of the tour. They were meaning “especially unbelievable” after he cracked in the previous leg.)

  • sal m

    athletes in many sports know that they will be tested and yet there are still those who get caught…and when they get caught they invariably invoke the “would i be so stupid to use these substances when i know i’m going to be tested” defense. it’s getting quite comical, actually.

  • IT does seem strange to me that he’d dope himself knowing that he’d be tested if he won the stage. ON the other hand, major league baseball players are still being caught using steroids. I suppose, if true, someone thought there was a foolproof way to beat the system.

  • Barry McCarty

    The Tour de France runs drug tests on three riders each stage: the winner of the stage, the overall leader (the yellow jersey), and one other rider chosen ar random.

  • sal m

    i believe the winner of each stage is tested…i do not know if they randomly test other riders as well…

  • duane

    … a poll that found Lance Armstrong was the most hated man in France.

    And that, in a nutshell, exemplifies why I think professional sports is a big waste of time … for the fans, that is.

    Just once, I would like someone in the public spotlight to admit when he has done something wrong, instead of Landis has vowed to fight this ruling and will do whatever he can to clear his name. It’s so OJ, although not quite as serious.

    perfidious … that’s a great word.

    Maybe they could do the tests before the race and then quarantine them until the winner is determined. They can’t be trusted to live by any sort of honor system, you know, in the true spirit of sportsmanship.

    Does everyone get tested, or just the few top finishers?

  • sal m

    my closing comment was dripping with the sweet nectar of sarcasm and fake “golly-gee-whiz-ness.”

    but then i’m sure you know this….

  • Lisa Milkowski

    Can you think of any possible reasons why an athlete wouldn’t test their own blood and urine?
    I can. Said blood and urine is laced with performance enhancing agents. There you go. That’s why.