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Faceoff

By TIMES WIRES
Published August 13, 2006


FACEOFF

Last weeks question

Do you think Tour de France champion Floyd Landis is guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs?

I love the conspiracy theory that Floyd Landis was contaminated by another person.

Landis, the upstart American cyclist who won the Tour de France, has been and is a target like Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong before him.

The motives are many and the possible persons who could and would contaminate Landis' body with an ingested or topically applied testosterone are legion.

A celebration party after Landis won a stage could be the scene of the contamination: A pat on Floyd's wet, exposed skin with a palm full of a common legal pharmaceutical topical testosterone by another celebrant could have gone undetected.

Similarly, a testosterone contaminated food or drink could have been provided to Landis during the multiple times drinks and food were provided by helpful individuals.

There are no tests to prove third-party contamination of an athlete but serial tests during an extended competition like the Tour de France could establish when it could have happened.

Testosterone is a slow-acting agent for its desired effects, and would not be legally present before any competition. But it would have minimal effects during a competition - except to eliminate a competitor when detected.

Robert Fedor, 58, Treasure Island