Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NPR/KPCC Interview

Paraphrase of realaudio; times are approximate from my player display.

Landis is scathing about Greg Lemond starting about 16:00 in.


Q: public hearing?
A: yes, wanted world to see; have some questions about objectivity of arbitrators from the pre-selected pool.
Q: how won S17 after collapse?
A: Mostly tactics...

5:30 :
Q: Everybody doping?
A: Scandals, hype by antidoping agencies. Agencies would have you believe all are doping; not all are, that's a sad way to look at life.

Q: but doping gives substantial improvement, how to resist temptation?
A: Assume some will give in, but not all. Know that everyone can't be a champion. Only a few are capable of winning anyway, even with drugs. Weaker people blame drugs for their own weaknesses.

9:30 news break;
Q: cortisone -- helped? In my case, very effective, but not a long term fix. Plugs BHR resurfacing. 12:30 Positive test -- what is the cause of the positive?
A: there never was a positive. it was alleged to be positive, despite the talking by Pound and the UCI. Most of the problems pointed out go to the lab needing to be closed. The irrefutable argument is that they must identify what they want to measure, in this case testosterone. It's just peaks on a graph. When they measure the wrong one, the number is meaningless. We proved that, and they didn't even try to refute it, because they can't.
Q: Didn't they argue for their methodology?
A: yes, because they don't know what they are doing. The heart of our argument is they didn't identify what they said and they don't know how to run their instruments. The IRMS CIR is more complicated, and they made similar mistakes. They have never executed a testosterone test to their specifications. Every athlete ever tested there has suffered these mistakes.
Q: only lab used for testing?
A: no, they have 30 other labs. No idea how credible others are. They are secretive, and most athletes can't find out. I'm lucky to be able to get the $2million its taken to find out what happened.

here: http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media/player/start/00:40:47/end/00:52:31/kpcc/news/shows/airtalk/2007/07/20070716_airtalk2.ram

Q: Phone call to LeMond. Intimidation? Fired. Controversy about when fired.
A: Yeah, the timeline is confusing. I inew after it happened, knew he needed to go. He needed to come the next day, he knew he was going to be fired. I caught grief for not firing sending away immediately, but that would have been bad for trying to pretend it didn't happen. The unfortunate thing was that Lemond's presence was just a tactic by USADA to take away from the fact they don't have a positive test. He made accusations to impugn my character, and wouldn't answer questions on cross-examination. He should never have been there, he has a lot of problems, I hope he gets help for his problems. He's not well.

Q: Why do you see him as so antagonistic towards you?
A: It's clear if you read any of the interviews that he's very jealous that Lance won more tours, or that any other american wins the tour. He makes comments he should have won more, he seems like to be a very bitter person. I don't know the man at all. The one phone call I made to him was the only time I'd spoken to him. I don't know why he was there, presumably to lie about something I said to him...

Q: His claim was that you defacto admitted to him when he urged you to come clean, saying that it would be good for the sport for you to admit it, and that essentially the way you answered was admiting you'd done it.
A: That's why I say he needs psychological help. I mean, here I am telling the whole world I didn't do it, and I call one guy who I've never spoken with before and tell him that I did it? The guy's clearly insane, and I hope he gets some help before he does something bad to himself.

Q: Why if you case is so strong did this member of your staff, Will Geohegan [pronounciation trouble, rhymes with Reagan] make a call and threaten Greg LeMond?
A: Back up a second, it never was a threat. It was just a bad joke. I'm not justifying it, it was an unfortunate thing that never should have happened, and not in any way defensible. It was a bad joke. And he still did show up, and he still did testify, and he still refused to testify about his own character under cross examination. This whole thing should have never taken place. They can focus on Mr. Geohegan as much as they want, but Lemond had no purpose in being there.

Q: OK. That's a pretty serious misfire of a joke, about childhood sexual trauma...
A: Look, if that happened to Greg Lemond, that's a terrible thing. But he's 50 years old now, and he has a problem with lying, and he never should have been there.

Listener Andrew Q: There's a gag order; Landis has criticised WADA for their comments. Why release a book and go on a PR tour? Why is he attacking LeMond and calling him insane and saying his Manager's call was a bad joke, when these same techniques applied to Floyd made him very critical of them?

A: First, what a gag order is ordinarily used for a judge in a case to keep one side from affecting a jury, and therefore affecting the outcome of the case. If me saying anything affects the arbitration panel, then that, frankly, frightens me. We arranged the book release back when the hearing was scheduled to be in January, thinking that was a respectable amount of time, and we did, following the case, when we realized the hearing was not going to be closed and a decision reached in a reasonable amount of time, send an email to the arbitrators letting them know the book was coming out and we couldn't change the date. We never received a response from them. So as far as everyone in this case is concerned, this gag order no longer exists.

Q: In his other question, that the tactics used by your employee had been used against you, this is the same thing you're decrying, being treated unfairly, and people going to extreme measures trying to impugn you.

Q: I've never defended what was in my characterization a bad joke. I've never said that was OK. It was a terrible thing to do, it was a terrible thing to try to use against Greg Lemond in any way, even as a bad joke. But the fact was Lemond was there to lie, he did lie, he's been lying since then. He used the hearing as a press conference essentially, he continued to talking when he was no longer asked questions, when he was asked to leave, and refused to answer questions about his own character. So there's no justification in him having been there, so to say I'm attacking his character when I'm pointing out the facts is a mischaracterization.

Listener Aaron Q:
I believe you, proud of you as an American. Allegations about you and Lance... I don't remember any about Indurain after he won five in a row. Do you think it's only when an American wins, and Miguel being European, no questions asked about doping?

A: Look, I've spent a lot of time in Europe and a lot of time in France. I've had good experiences there with the people. I know there are Americans who like to give the French a hard time for their national pride, and sometimes their seeming arrogance. But I've had good experiences there, and I don't believe that has anything to do with the accusations against Lance and I. Obviously, Lance is a totally different scenario than my case, he's a different athlete than me and the two are not really connected apart from that we're American. So it's easy for it to seem an American thing, but I don't have any reason to believe that and I, well I hope that's not the case.

Q: What is your relationship with Lance Armstrong like now? I know there were some bad feelings when you left his team, but what are things like today?
A: Things are fine. I raced with him on the Postal Service team from 2002, 2003 and 2004 and I helped him win those three tours and then I left hoping to be the leader of my own team at some point. He was a little frustrated by that. He did give me a chance to race with the best team in the world, and certainly I felt like I did the best job that I could do. He wanted me to stay another year and I wanted to leave, so there were some hard feelings, but things are good now and he's one of the few people who've been through something like this that can give me advice and he's been very open about it.

Q: You've talked frequently about your experience with..
A: Yes, I have.

Q: What about other cyclists? People with whom you've trained and ridden with over the years. What has been the response?
A: Everyone I've spoken too has been supportive. Everyone like me, before, I think was under the impression they could trust the antidoping agencies, that they really were in it for the best interests of the sport and to protect the athletes. But you can't have an agency claiming to be enforcing ethics just be blatantly violating their own rules and doing anything they want, including fabricating results and giving forged documents to athletes. I mean, those kinds of things don't lead to a cleaner sport, that just leads to distrust between the two parties and ultimately doesn't do any good at all.

Q: how is your training going at this point? How are you riding? Do you anticipate you'll be back in a Tour de France in the future?
A: Hopefully next year. Like I said before, we're waiting for the outcome of this hearing, and...

Q: They wouldn't let you ride this year, is that right?
A: No, I'm not banned from the sport, I'm allowed to race, and this is another complaint I have about the system, after this hearing, I have to deal with a French hearing for the same doping offense, and to keep that from happening at the same time as this one, which I don't know how that would have worked, I had to negotiate by saying I wouldn't race this year, so fair enough, I had to give that up, but I had to spend most of my time working on the case anyway. I haven't had time to train to be in shape to win the race.

Q: How long will it take you to get back in racing shape?
A: I'll need a few months. I haven't gone a year with so little riding in a long time.

Q: Are you going through withdrawls from that?
A: No, not so much, but I do really enjoy the days I get out to ride, that's for sure.

Q: We appreciate your being with us...
A: Thanks for having me.

[ plugs appearances ]


Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Wow, Floyd really didn't pull any punches about LeMond.

PEM said...

Although there were a lot of strong statements made in the latter half of the interview, the part I would like to stress was made almost at the beginning, and even TBV did not include in his paraphrasing. Although Landis would like the official ruling by the arbiters be in his favour, his ultimate goal with a public hearing was to have the clear thinking intelligent people make their own conclusions. He achieved it.

With all the thoughtful, well researched and well written articles and blogs that I have read, it looks like Landis has the cream of the crop from the public supporting him. I have yet to read a well-written article that counters his claim of innocence.

With the injustice that Landis has faced, the way he conducts himself publicly, the interviews he gives, the comments from others that know him or have met him and what they say about their encounter – gives me great admiration for Landis – enough so that I am compelled to put it in writing and place it somewhere for all to read. To me, Landis is a great role model on and off the bike.