Originally created 08/08/06

Landis fires back



Embattled Tour de France champion Floyd Landis said Monday the way his doping case has been handled so far makes him doubtful that he'll be able to clear his name.

"By what I've seen so far, I don't expect to get a fair chance," he said in a telephone interview from California. "But I'm hoping that will change."

Landis said the release of test results to the media before he had a chance to examine them made it difficult to defend himself. He offered no new explanation for the elevated testosterone levels, or synthetic testosterone, found in his system after a stirring comeback ride to victory in Stage 17.

Speaking about officials from both the international cycling federation and the anti-doping agencies, Landis added, "There are multiple reasons why this could have happened, other than what they're saying happened. They're saying that I added testosterone to my body in some way.

"I'm saying there are possibly hundreds of reasons why this test could be this way ... and it appears as though there is more of an agenda here than just enforcing the rules - if you look at the big picture."

But when asked who might be manipulating the results or the timing of the releases, Landis replied, "I don't have a theory on that. All I'm saying is that circumstantial evidence points to something other than just clearly enforcing the rules."

After a horrible stage 16, Landis won stage 17 in the Alps, a remarkable comeback that put him back in contention to win cycling's biggest race. He said he won that stage because of hard work - and nothing else.

"I put in more than 20,000 kilometers of training for the tour. I won the Tour of California, Paris-Nice and the Tour de Georgia," Landis said Sunday. "I was tested eight times at the Tour de France, four times before that stage and three times after, including three blood tests.

"Only one came back positive. Nobody in their right mind would take testosterone just once. It doesn't work that way."