Here is a link to an article where Lance is coming to Floyd’s defense on the whole doping scandal thing. I imagine we’ll be hearing alot more on this since the Tour is just around the corner.
This is my take: I think Landis is innocent. I don’t know beans about the testing process and how the A/B, first/second batch protocols work; but I do know enough about performance enhancing drugs, performance, and common sense to know that it just doesn’t add up.
For starters, Landis attracted attention because he was a race leader who fell behind and then had an incredible day’s ride which put him back in contention and ultimately led to his win. The samples in question were taken on the day of his incredible ride. Whether it’s a steriod, EPO, HGH or several cups of coffee; there simply is no drug that can increase performance to the level that Landis exhibited on that one day ride. I believe that it came from his mental toughness that allowed him to dig deep and push his body to it’s physical limits. I can point to specific race performances in my past where I was on a different mental plane – where failure was not an option – that led to results that surprised even myself, let alone my competitors. I believe that champions are able to do that on a regular basis, and focus energy on mental training as well as physical.
Next, the testing found no drugs – only evidence of elevated testosterone levels. Even if the results were accurate, you shouldn’t be able to impeach someone when you can’t make a clear connection between cause and effect. Testosterone is naturally occuring – our bodies produce it. So the burden should be on identifying the source of the reading rather than the assumption that it was the result of some illegal activity.
Finally, if we go with the assumption that he illegally took a drug that elevated his testosterone levels, it makes no sense that he would take it. The effect of testosterone is to increase muscle bulk by decreasing the time it takes for the mitochondria to repair themselves after hard physical work. We “recover” faster, allowing harder subsequent workouts, which increase muscle size and strength. It’s not a magic bullet that instantly makes someone go fast. Further, its not the approach that a cyclist, who should be more interested in oxygen transport, should be taking. Its like taking an aspirin for diarhea.
I don’t know how all of this will turn out. I enjoy following the Tour, and I’m proud of “Greg, Lance, and Floyd”, but I sure hope truth will somehow rule the day.