Friday, July 28, 2006

Landis says he's innocent

In the Tour de France winner’s first public appearance since yesterday’s stunning announcement by his team, Phonak, that he had tested positive for abnormal levels of testosterone, Floyd Landis claimed he has naturally high testosterone levels. He asked not to be judged prematurely.

From Madrid, Spain, AP reports Floyd Landis proclaims his innocence:

“‘All I'm asking for is that I be given a chance to prove I'm innocent,’ he said. Asked repeatedly what might have tripped his test, Landis refused to lay blame on any one thing. ‘As to what actually caused it on that particular day, I can only speculate,’ he said.

“Landis had an exemption from the Tour to take cortisone shots for pain in his hip, which will require surgery for a degenerative condition, and was taking an oral medication for hyperthyroidism. He and his doctor were consulting with experts to see if those drugs might have thrown off his testosterone levels.”

Having no idea of how accurate such drug tests are, or how likely they can be thrown off by other medications or natural occurrences, it would seem untoward to speculate now about Landis’ guilt or innocence.

Which makes me wonder why the story had to come out, at all, before the mandatory second test was made, or before Landis had a chance to challenge the results of the first test, the urine sample for which was taken after the Tour’s 17th stage. It seems a little like announcing how the jury is leaning in the middle of its deliberations.


Cory Chandler said...

I'd say this stage of the proceedings is more like releasing the story after an indictment has been returned, not like releasing it while a jury is still deliberating. Defendants rarely know an indictment is coming before it is returned, and the indictment sometimes goes public (depending on who the defendant is). Like an indictment, the positive result on the test of the first sample suggests, but does not prove, bad conduct. It is therefore as newsworthy as an indictment is, how ever much that may be.

F.T. Rea said...

The Jaded JD,

Your analogy does seem more precise. And, your point is well-taken.

My sense of it is that since it could have been anticipated that such an announcement would generate a huge amount of publicity -- some of it doing harm to Landis that can never be completely undone -- that going public with the whole thing could have been delayed for a few days. Not a month, just a few days.

How long could it take to at least get the results back from the backup sample’s test?

Then, since testosterone is a natural thing to begin with, like, couldn’t one naturally have a high level of it on a given day? I don’t know but I’m somewhat suspicious of the entire process.

There’s been so much made over Lance Armstrong’s old tests from years ago, so much backbiting in the pro cycling world. So there’s some possibility of mischief being made to discredit Landis, just as it may have been done to Armstrong.

At this point, I’m not sure I trust cycling officials and scenesters any more than I trust the cyclists.