The Landis family does not appreciate being mobbed.
Floyd Landis’s mother left her Farmersville, Pennsylvania house after being swamped by reporters in the wake of the Tour de France winner’s over-the-limit testosterone A sample news. Then, late Thursday night, Floyd Landis held a telephone press conference where he declined to disclose his location.
“Not to be elusive, but I have to figure out a way to get home and stay anonymous,” the California resident said from Europe.
Landis and his sports agent held the telephone conference to address the testosterone question, and to deny he had taken any banned substance. Landis and his physician, Dr. Brent Kay, said they had no immediate explanation for his elevated testosterone-to-epitesterone levels after the Tour’s stage 17 where he rocketed back into GC contention in a long-range solo ride.
“We’re consulting with a number of world experts so that we don’t speculate,” Dr. Kay said.
UCI rules allow riders up to a 4-to-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio. Normal males have a 1-to-1 ratio.
Landis said he did not know what his tested level was.
Landis has been taking cortisone for his deteriorating hip, and thyroid pills for a hypothyroid condition. Neither should affect his T/E ratio, Dr. Kay said. Nor should the much-celebrated beer Landis had after stage 16, or the small amount of Jack Daniels he had with a few teammates in the hotel afterwards.
One reporter asked Landis whether he had ever taken performance-enhancing drugs.
“I’ll say no,” Landis said. “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.”
“All I want to do is ask that everybody take a step back. I don’t know what your position is now. And I wouldn’t blame you if it was a bit skeptical because of what cycling has been through in the past and the way other cases have gone. All I’m asking for is just that I be given a chance to prove that I’m innocent. Cycling has a traditional way of trying people in the court of public opinion before they ever get a chance to do anything else. I can’t stop that. But I would like to be assumed innocent until proven guilty, since that’s the way we do things in America.”
An AP reporter asked Landis, “How do you explain this fabulous performance on stage 17?”
“Listen, there are 20 stages in the Tour,” Landis said. “And every day you see a fabulous performance. So explain the other 19.”
Landis said he would request his B sample to be tested Friday. Regardless of the finding, he doesn’t expect the media storm cloud to clear any time soon.
“Unfortunately it’s not going to go away, no matter what happens next,” he said. “It appears that this is a bigger story than winning the Tour.”
Landis said he had a hard time articulating how he felt upon hearing the news of his A sample results. But he had no problem commenting on his family being brought in the limelight.
“I think anything goes in this situation, but one thing that did make me upset about the way things have gone in that last two days was the way my parents were treated by the press,” he said. “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.”
To listen to the complete press conference audio click here to download the MP31>