Friday, July 28, 2006

The Floyd Landis Saga

. Friday, July 28, 2006

I think the part of the article highlighted in red is TOTAL BULL SHIT! A test should not be used if it is not 100% reliable. It shouldn't be used if it's "the best test we've got". And what is totally lost in this is the fact that Floyd's name was leaked by the testing lab prior to the confirmation of the B-sample. That is totally unacceptable. Furthermore, testosterone is used over a long period of time in conjunction with training. Testosterone does NOT give you an immediate added boost to your performance. I wouldn't be surprised if the cyclists create a "players' union" to bring some sanity and balance to the doping problems in the sport of cycling.

Apparently, Floyd will argue that it was the famous beer he drank the night before his stage victory that altered his testosterone levels.

News article from Velo News:

Floyd Landis is poised to make the wrong kind of history if his counter-analysis comes back positive: he could become the first Tour de France winner to lose his crown for a doping violation.

Landis may become the first rider in 102 years to be stripped of the yellow jersey
photo: AFPOn Thursday, Landis vehemently denied allegations he doped en route to winning the wild 2006 Tour, but if results of his "B" sample confirm initial tests that revealed "unusual" testosterone levels in his urine, Landis could lose his Tour victory.

"All I want to do is ask that everybody take a step back," Landis said. "All I'm asking for is just that I be given a chance to prove that I'm innocent. Cycling has a traditional way of trying people in the court of public opinion before they ever get a chance to do anything else. I can't stop that. But I would like to be assumed innocent until proven guilty, since that's the way we do things in America."

The counter-analysis is expected within the next several days. Landis wouldn't reveal his location in Europe, but he has the right to witness the test at the Châtenay-Malabry labs near Paris.

If the second test comes back positive, Landis could be stripped of his Tour crown, face an outright two-year racing ban and another two-year ban before a return to a ProTour team.
If the "B" test is positive, Landis will likely undergo endocrine tests to determine his naturally occurring testosterone levels and then could challenge the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The basis of the urine test is the T/E ratio, a balance between testosterone and epitestosterone in the body. Most adults have a range between 1:1 to 2:1, but the UCI has set the threshold at 4:1 to allow for riders with naturally occurring his testosterone levels.
The T/E ratio can vary widely within individuals, and in some cases the T/E ratio may be above the 4:1 ratio without doping while others can stay below the threshold despite cheating. The ratio tends to be constant over time, but wild swings may indicate doping. Other factors can cause swings in the ratio, such as dehydration, fatigue and even alcohol.

Anything above that threshold sends a red flag for doping controls. Landis would not reveal what his T/E ratio was in the samples taken after stage 17 into Morzine, when he went on an all-day solo attack to crawl his way back into overall contention.

The T/E ratio is not a sure-fire way to measure testosterone in the body, but it's the only detection method currently used under anti-doping controls.

Other riders have been caught up in the T/E ratio web and some have been cleared after proving with endocrine testing they have naturally high occurring testosterone levels.
Most famously was ex-Phonak teammate Santiago Botero, who tested for high levels in 1999 but was eventually cleared. Botero, incidentally, is implicated in the "Operación Puerto" doping investigation in Spain and was not allowed by his team to start the 2006 Tour.

Last year's Dauphiné Libéré winner Iñigo Landaluze also tested high for testosterone. Subsequently, the Spanish federation ruled that he had normally high levels of testosterone and cleared him to race, a decision the UCI is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).Earlier this season, another Phonak rider, Sascha Urweider, was suspended from the team for revealing high levels of testosterone.

If Landis is stripped of his title, everyone below him would bounce up one spot, with Oscar Pereiro being crowned as Tour winner. Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile) would move to second and Carlos Sastre (CSC) would slip up from fourth to a podium spot.
The disqualification would be a first doping-related in Tour history (the top four finishers of the scandal plagued 1904 Tour were disqualified for cheating), but not a precedent in cycling. Last year, Vuelta a España winner Roberto Heras was stripped of his title after testing positive for EPO and Russian Denis Menchov was later bounced up to official victor.