Given the 2006
chapter of the Tour de France was mired in drug controversy before a single
kilometre was raced,
should we be surprised that the eventual winner has also returned a positive
failed sample – in which a higher than allowed testosterone-epitestosterone
ratio was found – was delivered after his astounding performance in stage 17. He
is entitled to the B test before any assumptions of guilt are made, but the
media is on a rampage and the Tour de France hierarchy has been thrown into
Here’s how it unfolded:
July 20: Stage 17 to Morzine, through the Alps, Landis wins in Herculean breakaway. Doping control post-stage.
Samples sent to lab outside Paris.
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July 23: Stage 20, Landis wins on Champs Elysees.
Landis rides Dutch Stiphout criterium. Appearance fee in the region of 50,000 euro.
July 26: Lab findings released to UCI (International Cycling Union)
abnormal A-sample. Landis misses Netherlands criterium, forfeits
appearance fee without giving notice.
July 27: Landis misses his flight to Denmark for
lucrative criterium. He and manager cannot be contacted. www.FloydLandis.com
and www.Phonak-Cycling.ch are offline.
The delectable irony is, Phonak employed
Belgian John Lelangue, previously an employee of the Amaury Sport Organisation,
the Tour de France administrator/owner, in the wake of three incidents in late
2004. He was brought in for the 2005 season to change the internal culture, yet
11 riders have been implicated under his watch in 6 individual incidents.
Testosterone doping anecdotes expose the
technique of transdermal testosterone patches applied to the testicles for 6 to
8 hours, optimising recovery. Patches have a ratio of testosterone-epitestosterone
so not to flag testers nor do they spike testosterone, offering a more
regulated release and an immediate increase in testosterone. This recedes
quickly post removal prior to tests.
The moral of story? Integrity and pro-cycling
are no closer to a reconciliation, and never trust a man with shaved testicles.