Floyd Landis on Floyd Landis

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

The Tour de France runs through the end of the month, and cycling can only hope that the race is scandal free this year. Doping accusations have haunted the sport recently, and last year's winner, Floyd Landis, could still be stripped of his title after he was accused of taking testosterone. He has denied the charges from day one, and blasts the governing bodies of cycling in a new book called, Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France. A decision on his future, and his 2006 title, could come any day now. And, the toughest battle Landis faces now may not be his ability to compete but his struggle to preserve his reputation. We'll get his story first hand on the show today. So, send us your questions for Floyd Landis.

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I just read the VeloNews article that lays out the results of several of the carbon isotope tests conducted during last years tour where several of them tested positive for synthetic testosterone. Has this test been conducted on samples that are known to be negative? If so, were that many false positives detected? If not, can you still claim that it's faulty lab practices that caused your positive results?

Sent by carol | 3:21 PM | 7-11-2007

Your response the the Lemond question was disappointing. It is clear from that incident that you are willing to do anything to win your legal case, which leads me to believe that you had a similar attitude toward the Tour De France. It is time for you and your group of supporters to go away. Enjoy your book tour, it is the only victory lap you will ever get.

Sent by Nick | 3:31 PM | 7-11-2007

please, please, please stop the floyd love-feast. Offer opinions from the other side... not a book promo.

Sent by bob | 3:35 PM | 7-11-2007

As a fan of this show I find the Floyd Landis interview perplexing. Having failed two drug tests for performance enhancement during the Tour de France and his thuggish behavior with the Greg Lemond sex abuse coverage. Why would NPR choose to give this person a forum for a new book? Bad form.

Sent by Cody Trask | 3:39 PM | 7-11-2007

What an important topic! Just when I was starting to be concerned with issues of life and death this comes around! I LOVE talk of the Nation!!!!

Sent by Conrad | 3:55 PM | 7-11-2007

I agree with trying to be neutral, or to challenge the guy, but it really is a little more complicated than "come on, he faied the test; he cheated because there are a lot of cheaters."

Indulge me:

What If you failed a drug test, challenged it, and found that the test was not blind - you could have been identified by the testers (violation of lab protocol), also that when you look at the paperwork, the ID number for your sample had been written over something that had been whited out (a violation of lab protocol), that your followup test, which you requested be conducted at the most credible doping lab in the world at UCLA - a request that was refused - was in fact conducted by the same exact people in the same lab (the people and the lab that you are challenging) and was again not a blind test AND even if you doubt yourself or give up hope, you get bona fide scientists who independently tell you that the lab's procedures were flawed on too many levels to be trusted. AND on top of all that, the entire world was informed of your guilt after only your A sample had been taken, a very clear violation of the rules, because "the lab would have leaked it to the press anyway" AND this lab has been widely known to leak information to the newspaper L'Equipe. And all this happens after you have made the accomplishment of your life but before you've actually been paid for it - and that if the authorities would have followed their own rules and had the lab leak not been a foregone conclusion, you would have been able to make mid-six figures riding in post tour criteriums, but instead you got nothing and the whole world calling you a cheater.

What would you do? Based on my research, it appears to me the above conditions are actually true - not the result of Landis spin.

Cycling's got big drug problems, but ONLY the riders suffer AND there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE GOVERNING BODIES OF THE SPORT who hold the lives and careers of the riders (the people who make the sport possible) in their hands without any checks and balances.

And what if an extremely similar case - the same lab, very similar circumstances - was won by a rider recently.

This isn't pro landis spin. It's factual.

Having said that, he does "look" pretty guilt based on everything, but it's time the riders get the respect they deserve from the governing bodies - to follow the rules and be honest and transparent.

Sent by Tony | 4:08 PM | 7-11-2007

Thanks for giving Landis an opportunity to defend himself. It's simply too easy to blindly accept the negative remarks in the media without hearing his side of the story. Additionally, with all of the corruption that we know about in cycling, why is it so difficult to believe that a French drug testing company (one that has frequently been criticized for being corrupt and abusive) might have acted with outright deceit? In cycling and other sports, the un-impeachability that ???prosecutors??? are treated with severely undermines the system???s credibility.

Sent by Tod Meinke | 4:32 PM | 7-11-2007

The Floyd Love Fest? I think not. Study the case and the person and see what he has been through. Look at the science and see how inaccurate WADA has been in his case. Then make a judgment. Thanks TotN for having Landis on.

Paula Kirsch

trsutbut.com

Sent by Paula Kirsch | 5:44 PM | 7-11-2007

I saw Floyd when he came to Phoenix to raise funds for his foundation. I felt he was as guilty as any other doper until I saw what he had to say. If there is one thing that I have learned in life it is that there is always two sides to a story. If anything that his team presented in that forum was true, then we have some serious protocol issues in the testing and a witch hunt for cyclists by WADA. I know of Floyds capabilities on a bike, and his performance was within that range.
To me the ones you have to worry about are the "superhuman" efforts in the Tour where the winner never has a bad day, or comes out of nowhere (1996 Tour). Think less about doping, and more about tactics in his stage win last year. If he was only down 2 minutes on GC, we would not be talking about his "superhuman" performance. There is no question that cycling has a drug problem. I would argue no more than soccer, NFL football, or even tennis. (At least they are aggressively testing in cycling.) Don't forget there were other athletes caught in Puerto besides cyclists. But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.Due process folks. Innocent until PROVEN guilty.

Sent by James Robinson | 6:11 PM | 7-11-2007

In reference to Tony's comments above; nicely written and well laid out. I agree that for some unidentified reason, Floyd does look guilty and it is hard to be sympathetic. However, the prolonged attack on Lance gives Floyd at least some degree of credi

Sent by Bruce N. | 6:50 PM | 7-11-2007

Why don't they apply the same testing proceedures to the NFL, NBA, or MLB? If they did do you really think those sports were held to the same standards as the ProTour Cyclists that cycling would be seen as corrupt? Its not just the doping establishment that is askew athletes from high revenue sports should be treated the same across the board.

Sent by Harlan McGrail | 7:08 PM | 7-11-2007

Thank you TotN for the Landis interview. Mr. Landis has brought to light the serious problems inherent in the lab procedures and WADA/USADA rules. If one's life were dependent upon these lab results, one would want things to be done by the book. We should expect no less for the treatment of individuals who earn their living in pro cycling. It's unfortunate that a number of cyclists have doped; it is even more unfortunate that all are presumed to have done so. Good luck to you, Floyd. I did see the hearing and there should be no doubt that there were egregious errors and outright fabrications made in the case against you.

Sent by Lynn Smith | 7:43 PM | 7-11-2007

Thanks to TotN for having Floyd on.

Floyd's situation is a very tough one - through nothing of his doing.

Fighting against the system without even being allowed access to all the facts and information in the case is heroic and courageous. Visit trustbut.blogspot.com to learn about the hard drive of test data that the lab failed to produce. Apparently having erased all the important data on it.

Hopefully the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will be reformed into something more fair and useful after this is all said and done.

Sent by Bob Thomas | 9:46 PM | 7-11-2007

Floyd is innocent. Anyone knowing anything about steroids knows that the substance stands out like a flair in the dark of a clear night. There is no way Floyd would have taken the drug. Moreover, the drug does not influence performance in the way an epo substance does.

Floyd. Hang in there. I hope the verdict is just and lets go of this.

I love this sport and wish the testing labs could get their methods cleaned up.

Sent by Keith | 11:13 PM | 7-12-2007

How ill prepared was Neal Conan for this interview? Not one hard question such as "Why were documents purposely withheld from the hearings which showed that your hematocrit rose 4 points 11 days into the Tour?" Among other points:
- Floyd's own Dr. Arnie Baker in his power point presentation says samples were contaminated. They never, however, introduced this at the trial.
- The science of the test was NEVER challenged at the trial as Floyd's power point presentation repeatedly suggested.
- Floyd said that USADA obstructed access to documents. Not true. Floyd withheld critical documents of his blood levels.
- Floyd said that Paul Scott was barred from observing some of the proceedings at the LNDD. Not true. He and USADA reps were both present together. One could not be present without the other. Paul Scott would not testify.
It sickens me that Mr. Landis was given 1/2 hour of free publicity to propogate his lies. He was surrounded by dopers on his team. He refuses to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence. I expected NPR to have higher standards. As long as you have money and celebrity in America, it seems you have a free pass to lie and try to get away with it.

Sent by Elizabeth Moilove | 11:37 PM | 7-12-2007

Just a comment on the last poster saying the science was never challenged at the trial. As with much of the rest of the post she has clearly not read much of the trial info.
The reason it was not challenged is that Floyd's team was instructed by the panel that they COULD NOT challenge it.

Sent by John Roberts | 9:45 PM | 11-15-2007