Yesterday I mentioned that one rider in the Tour had tested positive after stage 17. Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) would only say, “I will say that I am extremely angry and feel very let down by this. The credibility of the sport is at stake. The rider, his federation and his team have been informed of the situation.”
The rider for whom a positive test would most damage the credibility of the sport was, well, obvious. I didn't state his name yesterday because it felt like saying it would make it so.
Then the rider in question failed to show up for a criterium event in the Netherlands, raising suspicions that he was the suspect in question.
"We've never experienced a situation that a 'topper' hasn't shown up without officially cancelling," said John van den Akker, who put together the start list for the Acht van Chaam, to ANP. "We've also learned nothing more from [Phonak team director] Lelangue. It's unbelievable, because Landis is one of the friendliest riders in the peloton. In the morning before the race, various people had breakfast with him and there was nothing wrong."
And today, Phonak and Floyd Landis confirmed that he was the one who had failed the test. Now his B-sample will be tested for confirmation. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently dropped the maximum testosterone to epitestosterone level from 6:1 to 4:1. The test is not conclusive in that some people have naturally high levels and can demonstrate that through a battery of endocrinological tests, and it's likely Landis will protest an adverse test result.
But no matter what, this test result will always leave doubts in people's minds. Another ex-Lance Armstrong lieutenant, Tyler Hamilton, also a universally acknowledged nice guy on the Tour, tested positive for blood doping a few years ago. He's still fighting the results. However, by now, most people have come to believe he was guilty, and it doesn't appear he'll ever make an impact on the pro cycling tour again.
Floyd's own mom seems ready to pronounce him guilty.
Arlene Landis, his mother, said Thursday that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but "if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win."
"I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are," she said in a phone interview from her home in Farmersville, Pennsylvania. "I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me."
"He is prominent and temptation is strong," she said. "He is still my wonderful son. If it has happened I love him as much as if he had won... (his) temptations are different than mine."