Landis Fails Drug Test

If this holds up and is neither an error, nor related to medicine he is taking for his degenerative hip disorder (which seems unlikely for testosterone), it will be very sad news indeed about Floyd Landis’s recent Tour de France win:

Landis Fails Drug Test After Triumph in Tour de France
By THE NEW YORK TIMES 46 minutes ago

As a financial aside, and not to be overly crass about it, but Phonak’s (Landis’s team sponsor) stock  (PHBN.SW)  has not yet responded to the news, even though it climbed nicely around his win.

[Update] As reflected in comments to this post, and elsewhere, there are reasons to be skeptical of the test result, if you’re of a charitable frame of mine.


  1. not surprising in the grand scheme of the sport. I was hoping that Landis’ religious underpinnings would somehow move him above it. Just makes it all the more surpising that Lance never got caught.
    What I’d like to see is some Bode Miller-like honesty for cycling (for all sports actually). If you’re not willing to kill yourself to be the best in the world, you will lose to someone who is. So lay it on the table, tell me what your cocktail of choice is, and let’s at least get rid of the farce.

  2. Bill Burnham says:

    Hi Paul, Check out some of the comments over at VeloNews. I don’t know if he doped or not, but he did admit to drinking a beer the night before and apparently there is a medical study that suggests drinking a beer could lead to a test failure:
    The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on the Urinary Testosterone / Epitestosterone Ratio
    By Dr Simon Davis B.Sc., Ph.D.
    Intoxicating beverages contain a number of different forms of alcohol, the major constituent of which is ethanol. When a beverage is consumed the ethanol content passes through the stomach wall and digestive tract into the blood stream. Once the ethanol enters circulation it begins to alter the bodies� biochemistry. One such reaction is to differentially increase the rates of testosterone (T) and epitestosterone (E) metabolism. The overall effect of this reaction is to increase the ratio of T to E excreted in the urine.
    It has been reported that ethanol consumption can increase urinary T/E ratios by 30% – 277% in healthy individuals. Observed changes in plasma T/E ratios can occur with the consumption of less than 2 pints of lager. The ingestion of ethanol by an individual will increase the T/E ratio observed in a urine sample.
    It follows that if the effect of ethanol on T/E ratios is calculated relative to urinary E concentrations, it can be seen that increases in the ratio are exponential as E concentrations decrease. Individuals with naturally low E concentrations could, therefore, experience increases in T/E ratios of ? 940% greater than increases experienced in an individual with normal E concentrations. Calculations estimate that in individuals with low urinary E concentration, ratios of 17 to 1 or higher could have resulted from ethanol consumption without any administration of exogenous T.
    The current T/E ratio test as performed by Kings College Laboratory and approved by the UK Sports, the IWF and IOC cannot discriminate between a 13 to 1 T/E ratio resulting from ethanol ingestion or a 13 to 1 ratio resulting from endogenous T administration.

  3. Thanks Bill. That’s fascinating stuff.

  4. I read in my RoadBikeRider newsletter that the legal steroid he is taking for his hip also leads to elevated testoterone levels. In addition, it was noted that every time a cyclist has challenged an elevated testerone test, the cyclist has won. I don’t have a link, it is a subscription newsletter, but if I recall correctly made similar notes yesterday in an article on the topic.

  5. Bill,
    That is about the only hope that I can see here. Either that or the interaction of his medication with beer or some other oddity.
    I am so bummed. Everything was there. At least for me. His overcoming adversity to be a role model for kids around the world, his passion, the apparent comradery he seemed to have with the peloton that Armstrong didn’t. He was a champion who was good for the Tour, good for kids and inspiring for all of us.
    As an aside, it should also be noted that testosterone shots and patches are considered very common amongst the cheaters. Especially after a bonk. One of the preferred methods of recovery without kicking out a bad urine sample is to attach a testosterone patch to the scrotum for about six hours. The problem is testing this year went from a 6:1 elevated ratio to 4:1 for the first time. So, many may have gotten away with this historically but the deviations have tightened.
    That said, there seems to be something different about the French culture or the European culture which attempts to indict these athletes in the media. Almost a desire to take anyone down who is on top. An ugly trait of jealousy or insecurity IMO. I can’t help but think there are some sour grapes in here somewhere. It’s similar to the doping allegations against Armstrong last year using a 1999 sample. The samples were supposed to be marked anonymously so there could be no cross reference and, thus, leaks. But, it just so happened they were testing a new procedure on some anonymous sample that coincidently was that of an American the French media loved to hate. They came out and said new tests proved Armstrong doped in 1999. That was total bullshit and was infuriating. That smelled to high heaven of something illegal and downright immoral.
    How can a world class organization like the Tdf leak test results and names before any confirmation or investigation is done to confirm the results? It appears some endocrinology work needs to be done as well as a “B” sample confirmation and a medical analysis of whether any of Landis’ specific physiology or medications might have contributed. To leak this just stinks to high heaven of some time of ulterior motive. I’m not saying he isn’t guilty but it just wreaks.

  6. let’s see if the second test gets suspiciously lost in the mail as when lance armstrong was tested positive back then.

  7. you’ve got to be in a VERY charitable frame of mind if you question the charges…
    99.9 of B-sample results confirm the first sample. and all those “my dog has asthma – i must have ingested some of his medicine by mistake” excuses – well, let’s just wait for the B sample.

  8. carbon isotrope test… very hard for Landis to claim that he has a natural high level if the test shows that the testosterone in question -is not produced from his own body. his teamate was caaught a few monthes ago… very sad!

  9. could anyone indicate the primary source of the ‘medical study’ by ‘Dr. Davis”?
    it’s making the rounds in the blogosphere, but i can’t find the original (with the actual data) anywhere, nor any other real publication on the subject by this doctor in any (reputable or not) scientific publication.
    i suspect it’s a hoax, and if so it would hurt Landis even more

  10. Everyone repeat, what alcohol should be consumed moderately, but what it means? Why to women recommend to drink more moderately than to men? What is the female alcoholism? WBR LeoP