tampabay.com

Landis skeptical he'll get 'fair chance'

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published August 8, 2006


Embattled Tour de France champion Floyd Landis said Monday that the way his doping case has been handled makes him doubt 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 an adequate 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 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.

"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."

Landis used the same word, "agenda," in a round of interviews a day earlier. 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 and wrapped up the race because of hard work and nothing else.

"I was tested eight times at the Tour de France," he said Sunday, "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."

Landis said the media knew the result of each of his urine samples before he did, including the original July 27 revelation of the "A" sample positive. Saturday, cycling's world governing body announced the backup "B" sample also was positive.

He said his biggest mistake was reacting to media reports when the news broke, saying it gave an impression he was coming up with new explanations each day.

After he has hip replacement surgery in about two weeks, Landis will have to start preparing for his appearance before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency next month, where he will try to explain why his test results came back positive.