<
>

Cross-examination focuses on manager, LeMond testimony

5/23/2007

MALIBU, Calif. -- Part science, part circus, the Floyd
Landis hearing gyrated through more tawdry testimony Tuesday, with
questions about testosterone, telephone calls and neckties filling
the Tour de France champion's stay on the witness stand.

Attorneys used Landis' cross-examination to portray him as
someone who hangs with the wrong crowd and would do anything to win
his case, including trying to intimidate and humiliate Greg LeMond,
whose revelations of sexual abuse and potential witness tampering
turned this hearing into a melodrama.

"Would you agree, that as my mother used to say, that a
person's character is revealed more by their actions than their
words?" U.S. Anti-Doping Agency attorney Matthew Barnett asked
Landis.

"It sounds like a good saying," Landis said.

Then, it got ugly, as Barnett dredged up events surrounding
testimony LeMond gave last Thursday. On that day, the three-time
Tour champion testified he'd received a phone call the night before
from Landis' manager, Will Geoghegan, who threatened to divulge
LeMond's secret.

Barnett tried to portray Landis and Geoghegan as scheming
together to keep LeMond from testifying, then not showing remorse
until they got caught.

Landis said that although he was sitting near Geoghegan when the
manager made the call last Wednesday night, he didn't know what was
going on until later.

Barnett tried to pin him down on when, exactly, he told his
attorneys of the call, and why he waited to fire Geoghegan until
after LeMond revealed details of the call on the witness stand.

Landis testified that he told his attorneys about the call as
soon as he arrived to the hearing room Thursday, though nobody
thought to fire Geoghegan until after LeMond's testimony.

"In hindsight, I probably should have fired him immediately,
but I needed someone to talk to," Landis said.

USADA attorneys tried to portray Landis as an active participant
in the LeMond plan. They pointed to his wardrobe that day -- a black
suit with a black tie instead of the yellow tie he's worn every
other day of the hearing -- as evidence that he had it in for
LeMond.

"That's why I wore the black suit, because it was a terrible
thing that happened," Landis said. "It wasn't a thing to
celebrate by wearing a yellow tie."

Was the black tie symbolic support for LeMond?

"No. It was a disaster. Nothing good could come out of that
day," Landis said.

Only bad things have come out of that day for Landis, whose new
manager, Brent Kay, opened this week by releasing a letter saying
Geoghegan had entered a rehab clinic. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles
County sheriff's sergeant based in Malibu said a detective is
investigating the police report LeMond filed after receiving the
call.

As part of their strategy to question Landis' character, USADA
attorneys also asked him about his decision to join the Phonak
cycling team despite knowing the team had well-documented problems
with doping.

"While I was concerned about it, if I understood they were
going to make changes that were the source of the problems, then I
was happy with that," Landis said.

Attorneys never directly asked Landis if he used synthetic
testosterone, as positive tests after Stage 17 at last year's Tour
show he did. Answering questions from his own attorneys Saturday,
Landis repeatedly denied he was a drug cheat and said winning that
way would go against everything he stands for.

Hoping to bring a little sanity back to the hearing, the Landis
attorneys brought expert Simon Davis to the witness stand in the
afternoon. He testified for three hours before the hearing was
adjourned for the day, with more testimony scheduled for Wednesday.
Arbitrators weren't sure closing arguments would take place
Wednesday, as they had hoped.

Davis was the expert present at the Chatenay-Malabry lab near
Paris, whom technician Cynthia Mongongu accused of "accosting"
her while he observed her run tests of Landis' urine.

Davis' testimony was about what he called shoddy practices at
the lab that produced "totally unreliable" results.

He produced pictures from inside the lab that he took with his
cell phone, one of which shows a set of magnetic lifting rings
sitting atop one of the machines.

He said the rings, which looked like "Mickey Mouse hats," are
designed to lift a very heavy magnet used in one of the machines.
He testified that they shouldn't be haphazardly sitting on the
machine and could interfere with the magnetic field, which could
lead to dramatically incorrect results.

"You can have faults with the source, faults with the
detectors," he said, describing other parts of the machine. "But
if the magnet is not right, you're dead in the water."

It was the kind of scientific testimony that was expected to
dominate this case before LeMond's blockbuster appearance. That
appearance has worked in favor of USADA attorneys, who have added
the character issue to their scientific evidence.

"You knew it would shatter your credibility if it came out that
Geoghegan made the call?" Barnett asked Landis, trying to prove he
was hoping his manager would get away with the call to LeMond.

"He's my friend," Landis said. "I guess I assumed he'd make a
big deal out of the call. Yeah, I mean, it was a big deal."

Barnett closed his cross-examination by asking about a pair of
quotes, one from Landis and one from Geoghegan, both of which
implied the Landis team would do anything to win this case.

"This is about doing what it takes to win," Geoghegan told a
crowd at a recent fundraising rally, as reported in the San Diego
Union-Tribune.

And Landis: "You don't want to be the one fighting the crazy
guy with nothing to lose," he's quoted as saying in Bicycling
Magazine.

Barnett asked Landis if that was, indeed, what he told the
magazine reporter.

"Correct," Landis said. "You've never heard that saying?"

Everyone in the courtroom laughed, though from the look on his
face, it wasn't quite clear if Landis was trying to be funny.