Synthetic is found in Landis test


Published: Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Tests performed on Floyd Landis' initial urine sample showed that some of the testosterone in his body came from an external source, and was not naturally produced by his own system, according to a person at the International Cycling Union with knowledge of the results.
That finding contradicts what Landis has claimed in his defense since the disclosure last week that he tested positive for an elevated ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone after his decisive performance in Stage 17 of the Tour de France. Landis won that stage in the Alps and improbably climbed to third place overall after he had struggled and plunged to 11th place the day before. He went on to claim the Tour title.
During a news conference in Madrid, Spain, on Friday, Landis said: "We will explain to the world why this is not a doping case, but a natural occurrence." He explained that the testosterone levels throughout his career were "natural and produced by my own organism."
But the French national anti-doping laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry performed a carbon isotope ratio test on the first of Landis' two urine samples provided after Stage 17 of the Tour, said the person, who works in UCI's anti-doping department. That test was done after Landis' ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone was found to be more than twice that allowed under World-Anti Doping Agency rules, the person said. The rules limit the ratio to 4-to-1. The normal range is between 1-to1 and 2-to-1.
Landis' personal doctor, Dr. Brent Kay, of Temecula, Calif., said the initial result was a false positive. He did, however, acknowledge that the test found a ratio of 11-to-1 in Landis' system. He and Landis are seeking an explanation for that high level.
"I've seen bodybuilders with numbers 100-to-1," Kay said. "Although Floyd's was elevated, it's not off the chart or anything."
The carbon isotope test examines the testosterone and determines if it is natural or synthetic. The test found that Landis had synthetic testosterone in his body, the person from the cycling union said.
Landis, who was in New York after canceling or postponing several talk show appearances, could not be reached for comment Monday.
The urine sample Landis provided after Stage 17 was divided into two samples, an A and a B. Landis received the test results of the A sample last Wednesday, and he had five business days to request an analysis of the B sample. Confirmation of the A sample result is needed for any violation to occur. If the B sample comes up negative, the case is dropped.
Michael Henson, who is Landis' spokesman, said that Landis sent a signed request at around 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday - about 6:30 p.m. Paris time - to the French lab to seek the analysis of his B sample.Jose Maria Buxeda, one of Landis' two Spanish lawyers, told The Associated Press that he had also sent a fax to UCI, the abbreviation used by the cycling union, on Monday afternoon to request that the B sample analysis go forward.
But Pat McQuaid, the president of UCI, said Monday night that the organization never received that request. He said UCI had contacted the French lab at 5 p.m. Paris time and that Landis' request had not been received.
McQuaid said UCI then asked the lab to analyze Landis' B sample, which he said was allowed under the organization's rules, so the test could be concluded before the lab closed for a two-week vacation on Friday. If the tests cannot be finished before then, the results may not come until late August or early September, he said.
"It's a two-and-a-half-day job and it's imperative that the B test be done this week for the credibility of our sport, but also for the public interest," McQuaid said. "This needs to be put to rest because there is too much innuendo, too much talk, too much damage being done to our sport. We have to get this process done quickly, so we can move on."
The lab agreed to conduct the tests Thursday through Saturday, McQuaid said. That means that Landis' fate might be known by the weekend.
If the carbon isotope test again comes back positive, Landis will face a two-year suspension from the sport. He also will be stripped of his Tour de France title.
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Dr. Gary I. Wadler, a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency and an associate professor at New York University School of Medicine, said that Landis would have several options if his B sample shows the presence of exogenous testosterone.
"The rules say that it is a violation, but if you can show that the athlete had no fault or no significant fault, there could be a mitigation of the sanction," he said. "No matter how it got there, the athlete has to show how it got into his or her body. It could have been sabotage or contaminated dietary supplements, or something else, but they have to prove how the testosterone got there."

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