Floyd Landis and his newly appointed legal team are prepared for his B sample to confirm the positiv
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The results of the testing on Tour de France winner Floyd Landis’s B sample are expected to be announced early this week, and perhaps as soon as Monday. Landis and his newly hired team of Spanish lawyers are expecting the test to confirm the presence of testosterone in Landis’s sample taken after stage 17 of the Tour, but they are expected to challenge any potential sanction by showing that the Phonak rider produces naturally high levels of testosterone and that the test employed by the Chatenay Malabry lab is not secure.
Spanish lawyer Jos Maria Buxeda, who worked with Roberto Heras on the Spaniard’s failed attempt to overturn his ban for use of EPO at last year’s Vuelta, insisted at a press conference in Madrid on Friday that Landis’s legal team were intending to prove that the testosterone produced by the American was endogenous – naturally produced by Landis’s body. Buxeda was critical of the Chatenay Malabry’s description of the testosterone found in Landis’s system as exogenous – from an outside source.
It is already becoming clear that whatever the result of Landis’s B sample, but especially if the positive test is confirmed, this issue is not going to go away quickly. As well as stating that Landis has recorded high levels of testosterone “since he was a young man”, there have also been suggestions from the Landis camp that the high levels may be due to the two beers and as many as four whiskies he drank with friends after his poor ride to La Toussuire.
There has also been considerable debate around the case as to whether testosterone would be the kind of product used for an instant performance boost. Speaking to the Miami Herald, forensic toxicologist Dr David Black, author of the book ‘Drug Testing in Sports’, said an injection of testosterone would have a “profound” short-term effect on an athlete.
“I have injected myself with testosterone in doing research, and I can tell you from personal experience that within hours you feel a profound psychological change, a sense of well-being, aggression and energy,” Black said. “You feel strong and powerful. And your endurance is definitely improved. So, it’s not peculiar to me that a cyclist would take testosterone after a bad day. What does seem peculiar is that an athlete of that calibre would put himself at such great risk, knowing that they test for testosterone.”
Black added that studies showing use of alcohol could raise testosterone levels are “inconclusive and unconvincing”. He also said he would be surprised to find out an athlete at Landis’s level had drunk such a quantity of alcohol during a major event, because it is a diuretic and leads to dehydration. “I’m very suspicious of that statement because I’d think alcohol would be forbidden, but we just don’t know enough yet about this case,” said Dr Black.
Back in Spain, meanwhile, doping whistleblower Jesus Manzano, who has alleged systematic doping abuse within the Kelme team, has told sports daily AS that testosterone can be taken during a race and deliver a beneficial effect on performance “almost immediately”. “It gives you a lot of strength and produces a sort of euphoria,” said Manzano.
The Landis case and other recent doping issues could have more profound effects for cycling, with International Olympic Committee vice-president Thomas Bach stating over the weekend that cycling should be removed as an Olympic sport if doping continues to be a problem for the sport.