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August 5, 2006
Plan B Didn't Work Out Too Well

Floyd Landis got fired from the cycling team Phonak and the Tour de France director indicated that his win would be invalidated as Landis' B sample came back as positive for doping. The second test confirmed the finding of the first, which found unnaturally high levels of testosterone after the 17th stage, when Landis came from behind in spectacular fashion to put himself in position for victory:

Floyd Landis is set to lose his Tour de France title and faces a two-year ban after returning a positive B sample for excessive levels of testosterone. The American's Phonak team dismissed Landis on Saturday when it was confirmed he produced levels more than twice the legal limit after stage 17.

Landis, 30, has said the high levels detected were a "natural occurrence". ...

The official decision to strip Landis of the victory rests with the International Cycling Union (UCI), but Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: "It goes without saying that for us Floyd Landis is no longer the winner of the 2006 Tour de France."

The B testing took place with his Spanish attorney present (no word why Landis did not have a French lawyer), and the results confirmed that something happened to Landis that apparently did not occur at any other time in the race. One would presume that if, as Landis states, he naturally produces testosterone at these high levels that he would fail every test he takes. We would have seen this at other testing points in the Tour de France and not just stage 17, at the very least.

Phonak doesn't buy the excuses. They have terminated his association with their team for "violating the team's internal Code of Ethics," which translates to: Landis cheated. They acknowledge that he has more legal options but make clear that they want no part in them, which tends to affirm that they have no faith in Landis' explanation either. Phonak would hardly assist in disqualifying their team's victory in the world's most prestigious cycling event if they though Landis might be telling the truth.

It's a shame, in the literal sense. Landis has embarrassed himself, his team, and the people here in America who celebrated his victory. His doping also tarnishes Lance Armstrong, who had to defend himself against untrue allegations of this variety for years. Landis should consider the option of sparing everyone further embarrassment.

UPDATE: For those who still hold our hope that Landis is just twice as manly as the rest of us, the AP has a little cold water for you:

Floyd Landis was fired by his team and the Tour de France no longer considered him its champion Saturday after his second doping sample tested positive for higher-than-allowed levels of testosterone. The head of France's anti-doping commission said the samples contained synthetic testosterone, indicating that it came from an outside source.
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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 5, 2006 6:07 AM

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Tracked on August 5, 2006 7:36 AM


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