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By Andrew Hood
While Floyd Landis traveled back to the United States this weekend, his fate and the outcome of his counter-analysis are still pending in Europe.
The test results of the “B” sample could be known as early as Monday, but a bank holiday in France could delay the test another day or two if it already hasn’t been carried out.
Landis’s lawyers said in a Saturday press conference that they don’t expect any changes in the counter-analysis.
“We’re expecting that [counter-analysis] will return positive because he produced it,” said José María Buxeda, one of two Spanish attorneys Landis has contracted to defend his interests in Europe. “We will have endocrine tests carried out to demonstrate that the substances found in his body are produced by himself in a natural form and that it has nothing to do with doping.”
Landis has hired Buxeda and Luis Sanz, a Spanish tandem of lawyers who unsuccessfully defended Roberto Heras last year following his positive test for EPO after the penultimate stage of the 2005 Vuelta a España.
During Saturday’s press conference in Madrid, Landis’s attorney outlined their key arguments.
First, Landis failed the anti-doping test because he has naturally occurring high testosterone and epitestosterone levels dating back to his childhood. Landis, they said, will undergo endocrine studies that will reveal those naturally high levels.
Second, the attorneys plan to argue that the testing method used by the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory is unfounded and that the lab violated protocol by suggesting that the positive is from exogenous testosterone, without formally notifying the UCI prior to release of that information.
“There is no laboratory in the world that still uses this testing method because of tremendous faults,” Buxeda said. “Even though it has come back as a positive according to this testing method, we cannot absolutely say that this signifies a positive doping case.”
Manzano: ‘Testosterone effects almost immediate’
Jesús Manzano, the ex-pro who revealed insider details of doping in a series of paid interviews two years ago, said that testosterone can be taken during competition and its effects can be felt “almost immediately.”
In an article with his byline in the Spanish daily AS, Manzano outlined the way riders can take testosterone during a competition, undercutting the argument that testosterone is a substance taken over weeks and months to slowly build strength and resistance.
Manzano’s interviews helped draw attention to controversial Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who is now at the center of an ongoing doping investigation in Spain.
“Its effects are felt almost immediately,” Manzano wrote. “It gives you a lot of force and produces a sort of euphoria.”
Manzano outlined three ways to take testosterone during a competition.
First are patches, called AndroGel, which are applied during a light massage usually during the evening mealtime. Manzano said the patches had to be used less than two hours to not risk going above the T/E ratio threshold and risking a positive doping test. Manzano also said clandestine suppositories are used as well as intravenous injections, called Rastandol, taking about 20 minutes to 1 hour before competition.
Another option are pills of Andriol, called “beans” in the cycling underworld – or “Ferrari’s jellybeans” by some – but these usually take several days to kick in and he said it’s not likely riders would use them during competition.