Velogal's Blog

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Floyd Landis was on Larry King last night, and I assume most of you watched if you were able to. If not, you can click on the Link below and read the CNN show transcript.

I thought Floyd presented himself pretty well - any of us would be somewhat uncomfortable if we were interviewed on Larry King in the best of circumstances. Floyd came off as honest, sincere and straightforward - as he really is. Not glib and smooth-talking, but just an honest joe who is in the headlights of a blood-hungry media frenzy.

Floyd acknowledged that he now knows what Lance has been going through since his first Tour win. Larry King interviewed Lance via phone, and Lance totally defended Floyd as innocent. Floyd’s physician, Dr. Brent Kay, was interviewed and he said what everybody should be thinking about. He said that testosterone builds bulk and body mass over a period of time. In other words, just what a cyclist does not want, and it is not an instant boost.

Dr. Kay also made the point that what is in question is the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, not a high level of testosterone in his urine. Floyd has not traditionally had a high level of testosterone. But it was pointed out that the racers never see the results, or numbers, from all their testing unless it is abnormal. My thought right there was maybe Floyd’s ratio has been borderline all the time, just under the wire. Nobody would know that, certainly not Floyd. And just this once, it increased slightly and redlined.

Here is an excerpt from an article in the Salt Lake City Tribune:
”Landis' heroic ride in Stage 17, the stage after which he tested positive, followed his meltdown in which he lost the yellow jersey and trailed by more than eight minutes. Could Landis, in an effort to salvage his hopes of winning the sport's biggest race, have taken a shot of testosterone before his solo breakaway to spark his improbable comeback?

If he did, it probably didn't help, said Wayne Meikle, a professor of medicine and pathology in the University of Utah's School of Medicine. "It takes several weeks to benefit muscle mass or function," he said. "There wouldn't be a benefit that soon, except maybe a psychological benefit that occurs with almost any medication."


The article also said that one test that could be done to distinguish naturally-occurring testosterone from pharmaceutically induced testosterone is a carbon isotope test. However, the question is, was it used in the A test, and will it be used in the B test? If I were Floyd, his doctor or attorney, I would insist that carbon isotope test be run on both samples.

If I owned, or managed a professional team, every rider, at the time he was signed, would have a panel of tests run. Every possible test that WADA could use, would be included, to provide a documented baseline for each team member. Blood and urine samples taken immediately after high stress training rides to be included.

Why? Not because the riders are not to be trusted, but to protect them against any incompetent or deliberate, malicious testing errors in a certain French laboratory or anywhere else.

Personally - I’ll say it again - I totally believe that Floyd did not try something stupid, and totally ineffective. I took this photo of Floyd during the Tour of California this year.

3 Comments:

  • Just read the following article in New York Times, "Landis Is On Message, but Points Are Disputed" written by Juliet Macur and Gina Kolata

    A day after his cycling team announced that he had tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the Tour de France, Floyd Landis continued to proclaim his innocence yesterday, holding a news conference in Madrid, appearing on “Larry King Live” on CNN and discussing the situation with reporters in a teleconference.
    But some of the information Landis provided about the doping test runs counter to an explanation of the situation by the chief medical officer of the International Cycling Union, the sport’s governing body.
    The evidence against Landis has not been officially released. Landis’s team, Phonak, confirmed Thursday that a urine test administered after Landis won Stage 17 of the Tour revealed the high level of testosterone. The testosterone test measures the ratio of the hormone to another substance, epitestosterone, in the urine. In most people, that ratio is close to one to one.
    Landis was guarded in teleconferences Thursday and yesterday and said he did not know what his ratio was, but Mario Zorzoli, the cycling union’s medical officer, said the union always provided a complete report on the test — including the testosterone ratio — to the rider and the team.
    “The athlete receives the report that we receive,” Zorzoli said in a telephone interview from Brazil. “Of course the rider gets that information.”
    Landis has said that he has naturally high levels of testosterone and did not take the hormone. He was subjected to eight doping tests during the Tour, and he said it was possible that he did not get a positive result in the other tests because those other samples might not have been tested for testosterone.
    But Zorzoli said every sample provided by cyclists was tested for the hormone in the routine test conducted by all laboratories. “Every sample is tested for the complete menu — the usual menu,” Zorzoli said, careful to speak in generalities because he was not authorized to speak specifically about Landis’s case.
    If Landis had a naturally high ratio of testosterone, it should have showed up in the drug tests he has taken throughout his career. Since his tests were never questioned until now, it is possible that the single positive test of his urine sample after Stage 17 was in error, something that can be determined only with additional testing. Or perhaps another factor raised his ratio.
    Zorzoli said a test is deemed positive for high levels of testosterone only if it meets one of two criteria: it reveals a high ratio that is not consistent with the rider’s history; or if a sophisticated carbon-isotope test determines that the testosterone came from an external source rather than being made naturally by the body.
    An analysis of a second sample from Landis’s drug test has not been completed. He said he had five days to request the second test, and did so last night — more than two days after he was informed of his positive test. It is possible that he needed to consult with his lawyers and consider all of his options and their implications.
    “I was trying to get organized,” he said about his delay in requesting the test of his B sample, which can take several days.
    His doctor, Brent Kaye, said in a telephone interview that he was confident that Landis was innocent. “He hasn’t taken testosterone,” he said. “He hasn’t done anything wrong.”
    Cycling fans and medical researchers are puzzling over that one test, wondering if the result occurred for natural reasons, or if something more sinister was at work.
    Landis said: “You should believe me because at this point I think it is an injustice to put me in this category in the first place.”
    The testing took place after a triumphant day for Landis. He faltered badly in Stage 16 but pulled off a stunning comeback the next day, roaring through the Alps in a performance that was regarded as one of the most impressive in Tour history. The winner of each stage is tested for drugs, so Landis had to provide a urine sample that day.
    William Bremner, an endocrinologist and chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Washington, said some men had naturally high ratios of testosterone. “There are a few men who have ratios as high as 8 to 1 or 10 to 1,” he said.
    Bremner said he was not aware of any data showing that prescription drugs — including the thyroid hormone that Landis took and the cortisone he used to relieve pain from bone loss in his hip — would have affected his testosterone level. “I think it is unlikely,” Bremner said.
    But Landis also said that he drank alcohol after Stage 16. In the teleconference, when he was asked how much he had had to drink, he said, “I didn’t sit down and drink until I passed out.” When pressed on the amount he consumed, he said, “I don’t remember.”
    Bremner said it was possible that alcohol would temporarily elevate the testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio. Scandinavian studies showed such an effect, Bremner said, adding that the researchers also noted that they could test for alcohol in the same urine samples. So, perhaps Landis’s claims that he was drinking could be confirmed by testing his samples.
    Kaye, Landis’s doctor, said a cyclist would not benefit from taking testosterone. “If you take a look at the facts of the case, first off it makes absolutely no sense that a professional cyclist would be taking testosterone in the first place,” he said. “That never ever would enhance your performance. In fact, it would make you slower.”
    But cyclists have tested positive for testosterone in the past — as recently as 2002, when Stefan Rütimann of Switzerland failed a test.
    In addition to eight drug tests during the Tour, Landis said he was tested 16 times this season and twice at home. He said he did not know the results of his previous tests, adding that athletes are notified only if the results are positive.
    An athlete might take an amount of testosterone that he believes will not produce an excessively high ratio. What if Landis took testosterone in desperation after Stage 16, thinking it would help him the next day? If an athlete rubbed on a testosterone gel or applied a patch that released the hormone, his level would rise for only a day or two, Bremner said. Other tests, before and after that day, would probably be normal.
    The key is to look at the pattern of Landis’s tests and see if his testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio is consistent or whether it varied, said John McKinlay, the senior vice president and chief scientist at the New England Research Institutes.
    “You don’t get variations in human beings,” he said. “If there is a spike that coincides with that day when he did fantastically well, that answers the question.” Unless, of course, alcohol raised his testosterone level. Or unless the test was in error. Or unless the B sample shows a normal ratio, in which case he would be cleared.
    In the meantime, Landis is being tried in the court of public opinion.
    “The notion that you are innocent until proven guilty might be a uniquely American ideal,” said Doriane Lambelet Coleman, a Duke University law professor. “It certainly is not the ideal in cycling.”

    I like your idea of testing every rider at the time they sign with a team. Hair analysis is something one might consider too. Very sad, unfortunate situation whatever the outcome.

    By Anonymous JoAnn, At 11:24 AM  

  • At this point I would not put my hands in the fire for anyone anymore. However, there's something fishy about this whole Floyd thing. Especially when you see that the tests were done in what I call the "maffia lab" again. They should have been put out of business for their unprofessional conduct. But no, they get to test the TdF riders. Totally ridiculous.
    It's good to see that at least LA and Dirk are not judging Floyd at this point. Johan once again is another matter.
    If he's gonna be like that with every rider who leaves his team against his wishes, he's got job security for a long long time to come.
    Ann

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11:34 AM  

  • according to what i heard he was far above the allowed values his testosterone was 11 times over what is allowed and the limites for what is alowed is set highe i don`t belive ther is any way he coulde have had that highe values naturaly.

    i don`t know whater or not testosterone has any benefial effect for a rider as you say inn your blogg it is not a instant boost but that doen`t really matter if he broke the rules he shud be disqualified

    last you say that the lab that was used is not thrust wordy personaly i don`t know anything about that, but i really think it is stuåid of the TdF if they use a lab that is not reliabel

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 2:55 PM  

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