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.
UPDATE: More information is coming now.
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.