Embattled Tour de France champion Floyd Landis of the United States says he has been treated unfairly by world cycling authorities. In a series of nationally televised interviews Monday, Landis accused cycling's world governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency of unfairly tarnishing his reputation.
Floyd Landis appeared on ABC's Good Morning, America and NBC's Today Show, again denying that taking testosterone fueled his dramatic stage-17 comeback in last month's Tour.
The International Cycling Union announced on Saturday that his second drug test sample also was positive.
Landis said the union and the World Anti-Doping Agency did not follow their own protocols, and that they informed the media about his positive results before telling him. He said he was caught off guard and made the mistake of trying to explain what might have caused the results before he knew the facts.
"I don't know exactly how this anomaly has occurred. I have come out in the press and tried to explain this," he said. "From the beginning I was forced into this position because of leaks and announcements by the UCI themselves - against their own rules, by the way. All of these reasons that have come up, some of them from me, some of them from other people attributed to me, we need to forget about that and let the experts figure out what's going on."
The 30-year-old Landis was tested eight times at the Tour, four times before his exceptional performance in the 17th stage and three times after, including three blood tests. Only his test following the 17th stage came back positive, and the result was later verified by his "B" sample.
But Landis denies using testosterone to enhance his performance after falling behind in the 16th stage. In his words, "Nobody in their right mind would take testosterone just once. It does not work that way."
Despite facing the threat of becoming the first Tour de France champion to be stripped of his title in the race's 103-year history, Floyd Landis said he will not give up trying to clear his name. "The race is not over yet," said Landis. "I had a bad day before and I kept fighting, and I am having some bad days now, but I have a new goal. To prove myself innocent and to figure out exactly what is going on behind the scenes here."
The American stopped short of saying someone spiked his urine sample to make it appear positive, but he said he thinks there is "some kind of agenda" against him. The Phonak cycling team fired him after Saturday's announcement of the second positive test. Floyd Landis is planning to undergo hip replacement surgery in two weeks, and then will prepare for his case before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency next month.