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Landis Lashes Out
Mon Jan 21, 2008
Source: Velo News

SAN DIEGO, CA - Think back to your first impressions of Floyd Landis.

Possibly they trace back to his days as a scrappy pro mountain biker. Perhaps you first took note of him when he was a bleached-blonde star of the sea foam-green Mercury domestic road squad. Or maybe you came to know Floyd as Lance Armstrong's lieutenant at U.S. Postal Service, or as he developed into the underdog GC rider at Phonak who broke through to win the 2006 Tour de France.

Remember the permanent grin, the cunning observational comments, and the sarcastic laughter?

Those days, at least for the time being, are over.

Past incarnations might have shed light on his bottled intensity, but the 2008 version of Floyd Landis is undeniably that of an angry man, one who feels betrayed and abandoned by those at the top of the sport of cycling - those whom he'd hoped would stand behind him after his urine was found to be positive for exogenous testosterone at that 2006 Tour.

Landis has remained largely out of the public eye since his USADA arbitration hearing last May and especially since the panel decided against him on September 20. However, he granted me an interview last week in exchange for posing some of his own questions to USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson.

Those questions centered on Landis's USADA case, Johnson's view of the case, and the way USADA and the anti-doping labs treat athletes in respect to doping violations. Landis framed his questions in search of for "yes/no" answers, however Johnson warned me going into it that "yes/no" answers wouldn't always be possible.

That interview was posted on velonews.com on Friday, January 11. Two days later I caught Landis at home in Murietta, California, where he had just finished watching his local team, the San Diego Chargers, dispose of the Indianapolis Colts to qualify for the AFC Championship game against the undefeated New England Patriots.

"It was a good game," Landis said. "[The Chargers] have a chance. I wouldn't put a lot of money on them, but they have a good team."

The same could be said about Landis, whose appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport begins on March 19 in New York City. After four months of deliberation, his defense team lost its first appeal when it asked the American Arbitration Association to overturn the sanction of his July 2006 doping violation.

By a 2-1 vote the committee ruled that "the charge of an elevated testosterone/epitestosterone ratio from the sample was not established in accordance with the WADA International Standards for Laboratories," and dismissed that charge. The panel, however, also ruled that "the charge of exogenous testosterone found in the sample by the Carbon Isotope Ratio analysis is established in accordance with the UCI Anti-Doping Regulations" and that a doping violation had occurred.

In his most outspoken, acerbic interview ever, Landis dropped his share of F-bombs as he spoke out against USA Cycling, for not coming to his defense; against pro teams like Slipstream-Chipotle and High Road Sports, for what he says is the implication that any rider that beats theirs is doped; and against former WADA chief Dick Pound, saying, "[Pound] believes he should win no matter what. He's worse than the dopers."

Lands also referred to the current doping accusations leveled at Spanish star Iban Mayo - "they can't say he is guilty, that is not a positive test" - and responded to the rumors that connect him to upstart domestic Rock Racing team owner Michael Ball - "I don't have an agreement with him. I am not employed by his team. If I work for his team in any capacity, it will be something that is within the rules."

More than once during the interview - which is being presented in its entirety here (except for a few key sections to run in an upcoming issue of VeloNews) - Landis told me, "I don't want to sound like I'm just complaining."

Complaining? No. Angry? Hell yeah.

Read The Entire Interview Here
http://velonews.com/race/int/articles/13939.0.html

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