The 2006 Tour de France champion is still in jeopardy of being the first to loose his title in the 104-year history of the race. Follow-up tests on his backup urine samples found traces of synthetic testosterone, the French sports newspaper L'Equipe reported Monday. But all the while, Landis has maintained his innocence.
"In the beginning of this thing, we were caught off guard in exactly the same way. The lab leaked the results," Landis told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith in an exclusive interview. "We had to deal with this publicly. So following that, we did our best to educate people and put everything out there on the Internet. And I think you saw, (the public) became aware that their case really had no scientific validity."
The tests were done at France's national anti-doping laboratory of Chatenay-Malabry outside Paris. L'Equipe said the lab used a technique that can distinguish synthetic from natural forms of testosterone, a male sex hormone. The lab is the same one that revealed Landis' positive test for elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels after he won the 17th stage of last year's Tour.
The 31-year-old cyclist, who grew up in Lancaster County, Pa., has an arbitration hearing May 14 in California, where he is expected to question the practices of the French lab. Landis wanted the tests conducted at the UCLA lab that handles much of USADA's testing, but the machine it uses is under repair.
Because the French lab leaked the story, Landis said he is basically indicted before the evidence is confirmed. He said officials at France's national anti-doping laboratory told him that he would be allowed to have an independent expert to observe the testing. But on Sunday, Landis's expert, a former director of the UCLA lab, was prevented from witnessing the testing. Landis said that is part of the plot against him.
"They like to win," he said about the French lab. "They like to make a point as if they're always right. They'll go out of their way. They'll break all their own rules in order to do that … At this point, they have taken position they want to win regardless of the truth."