Landis begins campaign to win hearts and minds

August 7th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Landis begins campaign to win hearts and minds

WASHINGTON - Embattled Tour de France winner Floyd Landis vowed on Monday to clear his name.
"I have a new goal, to prove myself innocent," Landis told ABC's Good Morning America.
Samples taken from Landis during last month's Tour revealed excessive amounts of the male sex hormone testosterone and the American faces being stripped of victory and a two-year ban.
The US Cycling Federation has already referred the case to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
When asked whether he had ever used any performance-enhancing drug, Landis said, 'No, I have not."
Landis originally said the liquor he had the night before the stage or perhaps dehydration were possible reasons for the positive test.
He acknowledged on Monday those explanations had caused him problems.
"This is where I got myself into trouble from the beginning," said the American. "I can't explain these test results because I don't know exactly how this anomaly has occurred.
"I have come out in the press and tried to explain this from the beginning. I was forced into that situation because of leaks and announcements by the UCI (International Cycling Union) themselves, against their own rules, by the way.
"And this has caused some problems for me. All of these reasons that have come up, some of them from me, some of them from other people attributed to me, we need to try to forget about that and let the experts figure out what's going on."
Meanwhile in Paris, an expert in the field of sports doping research said Landis faced an uphill task to clear his name.
"If they want to prove him innocent from a scientific point of view, they will have to re-invent physiology," Gerard Dine, a researcher and an expert with the national organization for scientific research, told Reuters on Monday.
Abnormally high
A second Landis drugs test, or 'B' sample, was revealed over the weekend also to contain an abnormally high level of testosterone, making Landis likely to be the first Tour winner stripped of his title for doping in the 103-year history of the race.
Testosterone generally speeds recovery, builds strength and gives more energy.
Landis, asked whether he contradicted himself with his various reasons for the positive test, said, "Number one, the whisky idea was not mine from the beginning.
"And the dehydration was a theory from the lawyers, which I must say I hired in Spain to represent me at the opening of the B sample but was not authorized by me to say something like that.
"I'm disappointed with that. And something has to be done about that.
Landis had a poor showing on the Tour's 16th stage and fell some eight minutes behind the leaders. However, he had a remarkable 17th stage to climb back into contention.
He told CBS's The Early Show the race was the "result of 15 years of hard work."
"A lot came together on the day after my bad day," he said. "I was clearly the strongest guy there from the beginning."
The UCI must now decide whether to take the title from the 30-year-old Landis and hand it to second-place finisher Oscar Pereiro of Spain. The Californian has already been sacked by his Swiss team Phonak.
When asked if he will race again and clear his name, he told CBS: "If I had to choose between the two, clearing my name is the most important one."
Should Landis get a UCI ban he would then not be able to sign up for a main circuit ProTour team for a further two years. At his age, that would effectively end his career. Reuters

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