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Tour de France Winner Floyd Landis Flunks Drug Test

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has failed his drug test.

Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race, his Phonak team said Thursday on its Web site. The statement came a day after cycling’s world governing body said an unidentified rider had failed a drug test during the Tour.

Ugh.

UPDATE: More information is coming now.

Floyd Landis Doper Floyd Landis of the US checks the clock as he crosses the finish to place second of the 7th stage of the 93rd Tour de France cycling race, a 52-kilometer (32.3-mile) individual time trial between Saint-Gregoire and Rennes, western France, in this Saturday, July 8, 2006 file photo. Tour de France winner Landis failed to show up for a one day race in Denmark on Thursday July 27, 2006 a day after missing a scheduled event in the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Christian Hartmann) The Swiss-based Phonak said in a statement on it Web site that it was notified by the UCI Wednesday that Landis’ sample showed “an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone” when he was tested after stage 17 of the race last Thursday. “The team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result,” the statement said. Phonak said Landis would ask for analysis of his backup “B” sample “to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake.”

Landis has been suspended pending the results. If the second sample confirms the initial finding, he will be fired from the team, Phonak said.

Landis won the Tour de France on Sunday, keeping the title in U.S. hands for the eighth straight year. Lance Armstrong, long dogged by doping whispers and reports that he has vehemently denied, won the previous seven.

Speculation that Landis may have tested positive had spread earlier Thursday after he failed to show up for a one-day race in Denmark on Thursday. A day earlier, he missed a scheduled event in the Netherlands. On the eve of the Tour’s start, nine riders — including pre-race favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso — were ousted, implicated in a Spanish doping investigation. The names of Ullrich and Basso turned up on a list of 56 cyclists who allegedly had contact with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who’s at the center of the Spanish doping probe.

While I hope this is indeed a false positive, it doesn’t look good for Landis. Let alone his sport. While it’s true that American team sports have long been dogged by steroids suspicions, there hasn’t been anything like this since the testing era began.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Jim Henley says:

    AAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh!

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  2. Matt says:

    What they said about stage 17:

    Floyd Landis may have crumbled in stage 16 but today he proved that he is a true fighter. He attacked at the base of the first of five climbs and raced onward to Morzine to claim a fine victory in one of the most exciting stages in year. He began the day in 11th place overall, and ended it in third just 30 seconds behind Oscar Pereiro.

    http://www.letour.fr/2006/TDF/LIVE/us/1700/index.html

    I watched the whole thing on OLN. One of the most amazing attacks of a stage in the tours history. Say it ain’t so Landis.

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  3. Gorni says:

    Anyone who rides a child’s toy for a living is immediately questionable. Biking is for the Beacon Hill, latte-sipping John Kerry set.

    Remember, Landis’ buddy, Lance, was a major critic of Bush and gave money to John Kerry. I wouldn’t be surprised if this Landis character supported him, as well.

    This guy is as bad as Barry Bonds.

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  4. Remember, Landis� buddy, Lance, was a major critic of Bush and gave money to John Kerry. I wouldn�t be surprised if this Landis character supported him, as well.

    What the HELL difference does that make? Jesus.

    In any case, though, don’t forget that there were drug allegations against Armstrong right after he won last year.

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  5. Not to mention that Landis and Armstrong aren’t even buddies these days; Armstrong was pissed that Landis took the job at Phonak (to lead the team) rather than staying and being his waterboy on US Postal/Discovery.

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  6. cirby says:

    Of course, in previous years, Lance Armstrong had “suspicious” test results from the French national testing organization (LNDD), and in the 1999 case it turned out to be an incompetent/dishonest lab that came back with false positives.

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  7. Gorni says:

    Not to mention that Landis and Armstrong aren�t even buddies these days; Armstrong was pissed that Landis took the job at Phonak (to lead the team) rather than staying and being his waterboy on US Postal/Discovery.

    Big deal. The point is that cycling is not a sport, but a stupid recreational activity for children or a mode of transportation for idiots who can’t afford a car.

    Cycling is a euro-obsession one step below soccer on the moronic wimp scale. Landis is giving the US a bad name. Let him hang out in France with other euro-crybabies like Zinedine Zidane. He couldn’t even last a minute on a second-rate Arena Football team.

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  8. Stevely says:

    Gorni,

    Your trolling is unimaginative and boring. Move along, please.

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  9. Jim Henley says:

    I like to think Gorni was engaging in satire.

    Lance did NOT have an immediate failure on a fresh sample after last year’s race. Floyd’s situation is, unfortunately, much more specific and rigorous than Lance ever dealt with.

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  10. Tour De France Winner Flunks Drug Test…

    Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Steven Plunk says:

    The sport has a long history of doping and doping suspicions. I recall Pedro Delgado was accused of doping way back in the eighties and almost everyone since has been accused.

    The results are not yet complete in this case and we should wait until they are to pass judgement. It always irks me that news like this leaks out when protocols are in place to double test and give riders a chance to examine and dispute results.

    It also seems funny that the positive was for testosterone. An easily detected growth hormone like this would be avoided by riders and would give positive results at other races. It would have no effect on Landis’s incredible ride if taken immediately before the race. Testosterone would be used during training to promote muscle growth over a long period of time.

    Many of the new tests don’t actually test for banned substances but test for indicators of use. As these tests get more sensitive the chances for false positives also goes up.

    As we saw with the “Operacion Puerto” the Europeans approach this much differently. The accused are basically guilty until proven innocent and accusers have all the power.

    If Landis is guilty then the Tour title should be stripped from him and the appropriate suspension applied.

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  12. Ryan says:

    This story will sanction the French suspicions of Lance Armstrong, even though they were wrong. How does testing work? Is it random or universal? Do steroids make you ugly because Landis sure is.

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  13. Anderson says:

    Landis will present testimony from girlfriends, etc., who will affirm that the testosterone levels at issue are actually quite normal for him.

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  14. McGehee says:

    Biking is for the Beacon Hill, latte-sipping John Kerry set.

    Mountain-biker George W. Bush might have something pungent to say about that opinion.

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  15. Gorni says:

    Mountain-biker George W. Bush might have something pungent to say about that opinion.

    I am reluctant to give Bush a pass–especially since he wears a mouthguard when he rides, which is pretty lame.

    But given the fact that he sent some lame Euro-Scottish police officer to the hospital when he rammed into him shows he has some moxie. Mountain bikers like Bush aren’t afraid to “put the hurt on.”

    Compare that to the tight-bike-short cads like Kerry and this Landis character (who apparently needed testoerone enhancements because he isn’t man enough to produce them on his own) and you are talking about totally differnent things.

    You don’t see Bush riding his skinny-tired bike around Boston, past Barney Frank’s house in some tight shorts! He is using it largely to tool around the ranch where there are no roads.

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  16. floyd says:

    when you look at the unfair treatment that greg lemond& lance armstrong suffered at the hands of eurocentric judges, it sure makes you wonder if the only “drug” they were looking for was “hubris americus”

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  17. Jim Henley says:

    I don’t normally link-spam this site, but I’m totally Pwning the blogging of this scandal so far.

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  18. Will says:

    2 points: Lanids would have been tested several times during this Tour – each time he held the yellow jersey. Did any of those tests come back positive? No.

    Why then would Landis or anyone else take testosterone between the last time he was tested and stage 17 when he would know that it would have no effect on performance and that it would very likely be picked up in any future tests?

    Especially with the sensitivity of today’s testing procedures/methods, isn’t it therefore much more likely that this result is merely false positive?

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  19. Landis, you know you cheated….

    What on earth could you eat or ingest that would have “high levels of testosterone” in it? I’d like to know. …

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