The world seems prepared to accept that Floyd Landis, Tour de France, victor fails drugs test:
Floyd Landis, the American cyclist who on Sunday won one of the most thrilling Tours de France of recent years, could be stripped of his title after a drugs test showed an abnormally high level of testosterone in his body.
However it is not the case that his testosterone level was abnormally high when he was tested, rather the difference between his testosterone and epitestosterone levels is abnormal. He did not test positively for a high level of testosterone, his epitestosterone level is abnormally low. Given Landis’ reliance on cortisone shots to combat the pain in the hip he will soon have replaced and the extraordinary performance he put on the day his test was flagged may account for the weird ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone; the body produces both and cortisone may have changed how Landis’ body.
If he was doping, it’s a terrible day for cycling. The Tour will have to reassess everything before next year. If Landis is going to be crucified for a strange result misreported as an “abnormally high level of testosterone” it will be a disaster for cycling, sport and journalism. We don’t know, yet, what’s going on.
The revelation that Mr. Landis was drinking the night before the test could be significant. According to several studies, alcohol consumption can increase the ratio between testosterone and epitestosterone, which occur naturally in the body. Mr. Landis failed the test because it showed an elevated ratio between the two.
According to Mr. Landis, the drinks weren’t part of his usual training. “I don’t ordinarily ever drink alcohol during a race,” he said yesterday. But earlier that day, during Stage 16, Mr. Landis had faded in the Alps, surrendering the leader’s yellow jersey and falling more than eight minutes behind. Afterward, he was all but convinced that the race was over for him. “What would you have done?” he asked. “Until yesterday, that was the worst day of my life.”
He rode Stage 17 with a hangover? Wow, that’s even more amazing.