Floyd Landis has hit out at the International Cycling Union's and the World Anti-Doping Agency's handling of his doping case, claiming that he heard news of his positive B test for testosterone on Saturday via the media rather than through official channels.
Speaking to USA Today on Sunday, Landis said: "I just got the information on the 'A' sample a day and half ago. I had to find out about the 'B' from reading it in the media."
Landis contrasted his case with that of Olympic sprint champion Justin Gatlin, whose positive A test for testosterone was only revealed last week despite the test being carried out back in April. Landis said of his own test: "I had only two days to react to mine. (UCI president) Pat McQuaid said he had to release mine before the lab leaked it."
The 30-year-old American, who was sacked by his Phonak team when news of his positive test was confirmed, also defended his winning performance in stage 17 of the Tour de France, after which he delivered the samples that led to his testosterone positive. "I put in more than 20,000 kilometres of training for the Tour. I won the Tour of California, Paris-Nice and the Tour de Georgia. I was tested eight times at the Tour; 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."
He also admitted that he made a mistake by responding to developments on his case as they happened, giving rise to the impression that he was making up excuse after excuse. "I've been catching a lot of grief in the press: 'Floyd has a new excuse, a new reason for what happened.' 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. There's some kind of agenda there. I just don't know what it is."
Landis said there was "zero chance" someone from his former Phonak team had either inadvertently or purposely given him the testosterone that showed up in the dope control. He also said he was ready to fight to regain his place in the sport after undergoing hip replacement surgery later this month. "Something bad happened to me, but bicycle racing is the most beautiful sport in the world. I want to remain part of it," he said.
At the moment, he remains besieged by the press in his San Diego home. "I need to (ride), believe me. That will be the best day of the week if that happens," he concluded.