Posted by Editor on 07/27/06
Floyd Landis just finished a teleconference with the media to respond to the announced A sample abnormal result from stage 17 in the Tour de France. Landis is still in Europe (at an undisclosed location). Present with him at the conference was his physician from San Diego (where he lives), Dr Brandon Kay (no spelling provided).
Landis began with a brief statement and then took questions.
"I appreciate the opportunity to say my piece, and I just regret that it has taken so long. It has created so much speculation. I am just sorry that I could not be there in a room with you and do this in person.
"All I would ask at this time is for everyone to take a step back. I wouldn't blame anyone who is skeptical at this point, with the way cycling has gone. All I ask is to be given a chance to prove that I am innocent. The way Cycling is, it tries (riders) in the court of public opinion. In America we go by innocent until proven guilty."
At this point, journalists were able to ask questions. Below are the questions and the responses.
Q: Where do you go from here? Do you know what the T/E (Testosterone/Epitestosterone) number is?
Landis: I will ask for the B sample to be tested tomorrow. I was notified yesterday morning by fax, and then I took the afternoon, the rest of the day to figure out what to do, to begin to find expert help. I don't know much about how the test works. But I do know that it is not called a positive - it is an Abnormal Testosterone to Epitestosterone result. I don't have that (the T/E number), it was sent to the team.
Q: What was your reaction at the news?
Landis: My reaction was that this is a disasterous feeling ... it is hard to put into words. This win is everything I have dreamed of in the last 10 years, now what went through my head was every possible scenario, and I knew that no matter what the outcome this would be very hard. I went from very, very high to very low.
I'm trying not to jump to any conclusions, there must be an explanation. I need to prove that there are variations to my Testosterone/Epitestosterone level, that they are out of the ordinary.
Q: Have you taken cortisone for your hip, do you have any exemption for your hip?
Landis: I would have tested positive for cortisone; I do have an exemption for cortisone. When we were dealing with my hip, my (medical) exams showed high numbers for TSH, higher than normal. We established that I have Hashimoto's Disease (a thyroid condition). I take a thyroid pill every day; I don't know if it has any implication (on T/E). It isn't performance enhancing, it is not banned. I haven't taken anything ... it is not from an exogenous performance enhancing source.
Q: Whatever the outcome will this stain your career?
Landis: Unfortunately, it won't ever go away. This is already a bigger story than winning the Tour. My objective is to clear my name. I think I can do that.
Q: Did you take an IV after stage 16. Was it a regular night after that stage?
Landis: It wasn't a normal night, when you get a massage, eat. I had decided that my chances to win the Tour were very small. The team atmosphere was not focussed, everyone was down. Everyone walked down to a bar just down the street, we had a beer, but there were too many (spectators) so we went back to the hotel. The hotel ... we had rooms that opened up into each other ... someone had a bottle of Jack Daniels ... there were four or five of us there and we had some drinks and went to sleep.
Q: Can you explain stage 17, your incredible performance?
Landis: There are 20 stages and every day you see a fabulous performance.
Q: Have you ever taken performance enhancing drugs?
Landis: I'll say no. The problem I have here again is that most of the public has an idea about cycling because of the way things have gone in the past. So I'll say no, knowing a lot of people are going to assume I'm guilty before I've had a chance to defend myself.
Q: What about your family, have you spoken with them?
Landis: I spoke with my Mom this morning. I would like to say that I am upset with the way my parents have been treated by the press. I can handle anything. I don't look for sympathy. I take what I get in life and I deal with it. But my mom's a saint so I ask, please, leave her alone.
Q: What about the fans, what would you like to say to them?
Landis: I don't look for sympathy, I just want to be given the chance to be innocent until proven guilty.
Q: Was the team aware of (your condition) with Hashimoto's Disease?
Landis: Yes, the team is aware of my condition.
Dr Kay: Hypothyroidism is treated with hormone replacement medicine. It is not performance enhancing, not banned. We are consulting with experts (regarding the effect on T/E ratio). But the (T/E) test has been criticized for years; there is even documented inaccuracy on the WADA website (Editor Note: see our earlier article with the link to the WADA T/E test document).
Landis: The team doesn't check T/E; it is not a regular test to monitor. (Note: Landis' doctor also said that T/E is not something that he ever tested for either)
Landis was also asked where in Europe he was. He declined to answer because "I need to head home, and I want preserve some anonymity at the airport."
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