Landis: Kitchen sink defense UCI, WADA's fault
Floyd Landis continued firing back at his accusers on Monday, telling ESPN and ABC's Good Morning America that he was left to speculate about the cause of test results indicating a high testosterone ratio when cycling's governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency failed to follow their own rules and made the results public.
I thought waiting to hear back about Floyd's "B" sample would give me a different perspective or time to change the way I thought about it, but it really didn't. I've been going around in the peloton and talking to quite a few of the riders of higher standing about their take on the whole situation. And obviously, disappointment is a big feeling in the peloton. It hurts each and every single one of us that something like this happened.
To read more of cyclist Bobby Julich's take on the Floyd Landis doping scandal, click here.
In interviews, Landis said the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and WADA gave the test results to the press before giving him time to learn more about the findings and mount a defense. That, Landis said, led to a kitchen sink approach to explaining the cause -- including some explanations from which he now is distancing himself, such as drinking whiskey the night before his stirring Stage 17 comeback.
In his first interviews since his "B" sample came back positive for unnatural testosterone on Saturday, Landis offered no new evidence of his innocence, but remained defiant about being considered champion of the Tour de France.
"I know the truth. I know I won the Tour clean. I know I raced by the rules,' he told ESPN, adding that the yellow jersey is "at my house ... I'm going to keep it. I know what happened and I'm proud of it."
"I put in more than 20,000 kilometers of training for the Tour," he told USA Today for a story posted on the newspaper's Web site Sunday night. "I won the Tour of California, Paris-Nice and the Tour de Georgia. I was tested eight times at the Tour (de France); four times before that stage and three times after, including three blood tests. Only one came back positive. Nobody in their right mind would take testosterone just once; it doesn't work that way."
As for the accuracy of the tests that measured his testosterone ratio, Landis told ESPN, "based on the results I see a couple of possible explanations. Either the test doesn't work at all, or something happened to the urine sample, I don't know which ... I'm not going to speculate."
But Dr. Gary Wadler of WADA, appearing on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning, focused on the finding of synthetic testosterone in Landis' urine -- and that the finding constitutes a doping violation.
"The fact of the matter is the rules are quite clear: If a prohibited substance is on your body, that is doping," Wadler said. "[Landis] has made the claim earlier on he had nothing unnatural in his body -- he had pharmaceutical testosterone in his body. That's not natural. So the burden is on him to prove how it got there."
While many athletes accused of doping have claimed they were sabotaged, "to this point he's never made any statements regarding how he thinks that substance got into his body," Wadler said.
On ESPN Radio
• Floyd Landis on the Dan Patrick Show: Listen
• Dr. Gary Wadler of WADA on Mike & Mike in the Morning: Listen
The results of Landis' "A" test, which showed an imbalance in his testosterone to epitestosterone ratio, were made public July 27. The tests also showed a synthetic source of testosterone -- one that his body did not make. Landis denies taking synthetic testosterone, saying it would not give him the kind of short-term advantage that would have boosted him to his Stage 17 comeback.
Landis told USA Today that sprinter Justin Gatlin's "A" test showing the same imbalance was not announced for three months, "while I had only two days to react to mine. [UCI head] Pat McQuaid said he had to release mine before the lab leaked it."
In more desperate straits than when everyone counted him out of the Tour before Stage 17, Landis has been fired by his Phonak team and the Tour de France no longer considers him its champion. Landis said his biggest mistake has been offering daily excuses for his positive test.
"That is where I got into trouble from the beginning," Landis told Good Morning America on Monday. "All of these reasons that have come up we need to forget about that and let the experts figure it out."
Landis and his defense had offered various explanations for the high testosterone-epitestosterone ratio, such as cortisone shots taken for pain in his degenerating hip, drinking beer and whiskey the night before the tests, thyroid medication, and his natural metabolism.
"Number one, the whiskey idea was not mine from the beginning," he told GMA. "And the dehydration was a theory from the lawyers, which I must say I hired in Spain to represent me at the opening of the sample -- but was not authorized by me to say something like that, and I'm disappointed with that and something has to be done with that."
He acknowledged that the early kitchen sink approach has cost him credibility.
"If I was watching from the outside it would look like I didn't know what I was talking about," he told ESPN. "I felt like I needed to say something to give the press something to say rather than harass my family and friends. That was a mistake."
"I've been catching a lot of grief in the press: 'Floyd has a new excuse, a new reason for what happened,' " he told USA Today. "This is a situation where I'm forced to defend myself in the media. It would never have happened if UCI and WADA had followed their own rules."
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.
"There's some kind of agenda there," he told USA Today. "I just don't know what it is."
After he has hip replacement surgery in about two weeks, Landis will have to start preparing for his appearance before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency sometime next month, where he will try to explain why his test results came back positive.
Landis, who was raised a Mennonite in Pennsylvania, told Good Morning America he also leans on his mother for support.
"She's the one that no matter what happens, to me or to anyone else in life, she will remain unchanged," he said. "When she spoke to me, she said 'Look, tell me the truth, doesn't matter to me what it is, I'll see you the same regardless.' And I think if you saw any of her interviews on television, she believes [in him]"
"Based on how may times the rules have been broken, I'm not confident the system works but I know the truth, my friends and family know the truth."
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