Well, that didn’t take long.
Tour de France winner Floyd Landis tested positive for the male sex hormone testosterone, according to a statement Thursday by his Phonak racing team.
The statement, published on the team’s Web site, comes a day after cycling’s world governing body revealed that an unidentified rider had failed a drug test during the Tour.
The team said it had notified the International Cycling Union (UCI), the governing body for the sport, that Landis had “an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone ratio” after stage 17 of the race last Thursday. Landis won the Tour de France last Sunday in Paris.
The Phonak statement says the team management and Landis are both “totally surprised,” and Landis will ask for an analysis of his backup “B” sample “to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake.”
Swiss-based Phonak says Landis has been suspended by his team pending the results.
If the second sample confirms the initial finding, he will be fired from the team, Phonak said.
As well he should be, if the 2nd test confirms the finding. Given the track record the various labs have in getting this kind of thing right with Lance Armstrong, I think I’ll wait for the 2nd test to be complete before I give these allegations too much credit.
To be honest, when I read about Maryland Senatorial candidate Michael Steele’s comments earlier this week I wasn’t sure how to respond. His comment about being a Republican in Maryland was an impediment to getting elected is nothing but the truth although phrased a bit – shall we say – roughly. The reference to having a scarlet letter (an ‘R’, this time) certainly brought the point home. The trouble is the audience he chose to speak to was a group of reliably liberal, reliably Democratic journalists. Would it be possible to make such comments to such a group and not have them report it in the worst possible light?
And what kind of dimness does it take to think that simply asking those present to keep the identity of the speaker of these comments confidential would actually do the job?
Then there’s the comments about the President and his policies. There’s no way a rational person could spin those comments into a positive commentary on the President. As for the flat-out, blatant statement that he’d prefer the President not show up to campaign on his behalf… Well, there’s just no way to take that nicely.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line lives in Maryland and his take on it reflects, I believe, the consensus on Steele’s statements:
There have always been, and always will be, Republican politicians who feel the need to assure liberal journalists that they don’t really buy into the party’s conservative message. I’ll give Steele the benefit of the doubt and assume that this unsavory dynamic was not at work here. Indeed, the Steele campaign has claimed that the candidate had many nice things to say about President Bush during the course of the lunch. Nonetheless, I can’t help but view Steele less favorably than I did before this unfortunate incident.
Steele’s attempts to tap-dance his way out of the mess he created are simply giving the press more targets to aim for. The Washington Post lovingly reports the Maryland Democrats’ reactions to Steele’s attempts at damage control. While I have no doubt that Steele’s claim that the press purposely omitted the positive comments he made at the original briefing, I think Steele was naive in the extreme to not have expected that activity the moment he opened his mouth.
As a Virginian, Steele isn’t on my ballot but I have to say that if he were, I wouldn’t be expecting a Republican victory in November now.