What's Cool In Road Cycling

Floyd Landis Speaks To The Press

Floyd Landis has been quiet over the last few days giving barely a statement as to his position on the abnormal finding in testosterone levels after arguably one of the most spectacular stage wins in Tour de France history. Landis spoke to the press this evening in Madrid and made a few things known.

Floyd Landis began the press conference frankly and to the point: “I would like to leave absolutely clear that I am not in any doping process. In this particular case, nobody can talk about doping.”

Landis of course has a few options at the moment. He’ll be waiting on the results of his B-Sample test, which he admitted yesterday that he can pretty much assume will come up positive again. Speaking with Austin Murphy of CNN/SI, Landis sighed that he “can’t be hopeful” that the B-Sample will be any different: “I’m a realist.”

Course Of Action For The Floyd
So, Landis is heading to endocrinologists to be tested and controlled as needed “to accredit that the levels I have had during the Tour and all my career are absolutely natural as produced by my own organism.” Landis also made it known that he has always had higher than normal levels of testosterone, and in the case of the period post-Stage 17, “for natural reasons this level is higher still.”

Stage 16 saw the apparent death of Floyd Landis as he put pretty much every other come apart in all of history to shame.

Landis will specifically be enlisting the help of Spanish doctor (hold your moans people), Luis Hernandez, who has helped with other athletes who have tested positive for testosterone abnormalities: “In hundreds of cases, no one’s ever lost one.”

If You Remember One Thing, Remember This
He continued with an important statement that though hard to remember in times such as these is well worth reiterating: “Until such research [B-Sample analysis, testosterone monitoring, etc] has been carried out — to which every sportsman in the world is entitled — I ask not to be judged and much less to be sentenced by anyone.”

“I’m proud of the fact that I won the Tour because I was the strongest guy there…My victory can be traced back to hard training.”

Landis reiterated today that his performance on Stage 17 was due to hard work, and not doping.

Possibilities For Abnormalities
Floyd also provided two other possible explanations:

“I’ve had a thyroid condition for the last year or so and have been taking small amounts of thyroid hormone. It’s an oral dose, once a day.”

Then there’s the highly-touted beer possibility, which has gotten a little bit bigger since the Tour when, if memory serves me correctly, he had only one beer.

Now it’s: “two beers and at least four shots of whiskey.”

Of course, it would make sense to downplay how much you drank after cracking big time in a crucial stage and lost the Tour because of it. It wouldn’t look exactly professional to say, yeah dude, I got plastered last night.

AP reports that the ‘beer excuse’ probably doesn’t hold much weight, as the quantities used in the study that produced an increase in testosterone levels were much higher than what Floyd actually had, as well as the fact that the effects are greater on females than in males.

Still, doubt is cast.

These two possibilities, along with the high effort involved in his 130k break, could help to explain some part of the abnormalities – or at least bring it within reason.

But, Landis being the realist, realizes the hard truth: “I wouldn’t hold it against somebody if they don’t believe me.”

Dick Pound Shoots Off At The Mouth Again
“For this to happen in your marquee event, that’s a stunning indictment of the state of the sport. They have a huge problem, a really serious problem, but first they have to recognize it. It’s like an alcoholic. Unless you acknowledge you have a problem, it’s very hard to move toward a solution,” as the infamous Dick(head) Pound is quoted in Juliet Macur and Carla Baranauckas’ article on Landis’ case today in the New York Times.

It seems that not all of WADA is composed of annoying blowhards. Dr. Gary Wadler, a member of WADA and a spokesman for the American College of Sports Medicine thinks that it just “[doesn’t] add up.”

According to Wadler, “Testosterone creams, pills and injections can build muscle and strength and improve recovery time after exertion when used over a period of several weeks,” but of course, if Landis had been on testosterone the whole time, levels from previous tests would have been affected.

Of course, if Landis used testosterone that DAY it would account for the abnormality, but he would have gotten no performance enhancing effect: “so something’s missing here. It just doesn’t add up.”

Kloeden Ready To Feel Cheated
Andreas Kloeden commented on the recent developments: “That’s not how you want to win the Tour de France…If the B-Sample proves the first test, then I’ll feel cheated.”

Let’s Look At Something A Little Different
Of note otherwise…Landis’ performance in Stage 17 in terms of power was hugely impressive. No question. BUT, it was nothing different than what he had done in training countless times before. How do we know this? Floyd rides with a PowerTap, Floyd’s coach is Allen Lim, and Allen Lim makes all of Floyd’s data known on Bicycling.com.

It is interesting to note that Floyd’s solo exploit on Stage 17 was oh so much like his training in the mountains: time trial in the valleys (he often switches to a time trial bike in training) and climb like hell when the road tilts upwards.

Here’s Floyd’s data from Stage 17 (source: Allen Lim, Bicycling.com):

– 5 hours 23 minutes and 36 seconds.

– Covering 200.5 kilometers (130 km alone in the wind).

– At a speed of 37.175 km/hr.

– Averaging 281 watts when moving for the whole ride and 318 watts over the last two hours.

– Averaging 324 watts while pedaling for the whole ride and 364 watts over the last 2 hours.

– At an average cadence of 89 rpm.

– 5456 kj

– Attacking about a quarter of the way up the Col des Saisies for 30 seconds at 544 watts, which settled into a 5-minute peak of 451 watts, which continued for 10 minutes at an average of power of 431 watts, and left everyone in his dust after 30 minutes at an average power of 401 watts.

Landis rode brilliantly in Stage 17, the only question now is how – was it of his own power or the help of something else?

– Spending 13.2% of his time or 43 minutes coasting like a rocket on the descents and another 60% between 4 to 7 watts per kilogram of body weight (aka, the pain cave).

– Holding onto 373 watts over the Col de Joux-Plane.

What About Training?
Floyd says his ride on Stage 17 has everything to do with hard work and nothing to do with doping, so let’s look at the hard. Now, we can compare Stage 17 with what a ‘typical’ training ride looks like for Floyd Landis, as Lim wrote about this at the start of the 2005 Tour de France – and consider this was from one year ago – Floyd hopefully improved over the past year…

Training Ride:

Duration: 6:04 (hrs:min)

Distance: 115 miles

Average Speed: 19.0 mph

Perception of Effort (1-10): 7

Average Power: 247 Watts

Total Work from Power: 5394 Kjoules

Peak Power for 1 min: 545 watts

Peak Power for 5 min: 470 watts

Peak Power for 30 min: 391 watts

Peak Power for 1 hour: 377 watts

Peak Power for 2 hours: 372 watts

This of course proves absolutely nothing – except that Floyd did nothing super-human that day. He rode everyone off of his wheel and proceeded to ride exactly how he would in training. Again, this does not have anything to do with abnormalities in testosterone/epitestosterone ratios, it only shows that hey, Floyd rocked a great ride on Stage 17, but it wasn’t superhuman – it was what one should have expected in that situation from Landis.

All that’s left now is to wait…

Don’t lose all faith in bike racing yet. It would be too nice for this statement to ring true, so I’ll just keep hoping: “I’m proud of the fact that I won the Tour because I was the strongest guy there…My victory can be traced back to hard training.”

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