By Philippa Bourke
Floyd Landis vigorously denied the charge that he ever took testosterone or banned substances during his cycling career, which began on dusty mountain trails in Pennsylvania and later saw him ascending the breathtaking climbs of Europe's Alps to a Tour de France win in 2006.
He flatly rejected the claim of Greg LeMond that he had admitted to doping in a heart-to-heart telephone conversation where LeMond, who in confiding his history of child abuse, had revealed what Landis more than once referred to as one of the worst things that could happen to a person.
Referring to LeMond's sexual abuse, Landis said, "It traumatized me," adding that he did not know how to respond. "I apologized .... Again, I apologized," he recalled.
He said when he later talked to LeMond, who spoke of Landis admitting to taking testosterone in the earlier conversation, he told LeMond he did not do so in the earlier call, but LeMond persisted that that was how he recalled the conversation.
Delivered with humility and in a short, staccato-style speech, Landis' testimony laid bare the friction with Lance Armstrong, the trials of competition and injury, and notably, colossal bad management and decision-making at various turns in the saga since learning of his positive doping results in France right up until his business manager's calls to LeMond three nights ago in Malibu.
More than anything, it was a tale of the fragility of friendships formed on the road and in the intensity of competition. In responding to his own team's attorney Howard Jacobs's final dramatic question about why it was that the arbitration panel should believe him, Landis defended not just his career, but his substance as a man:
"Well they should believe me because people are defined by their principles and how they make their decisions. To me, bicycle racing was rewarding for the pure fact that I was proud of myself when I put the work into it, and I could see results and get something out of it.
"Whatever those results were, as long as I knew that I did the work, that I earned what I got, that was satisfying for me obviously trying to win - some win more than others - but nevertheless, it's a matter of who I am. And it wouldn't serve any purpose for me to cheat and win the Tour because I wouldn't be proud of it and that's just not what the goal was in the end."
Earlier Saturday, German scientist Wilhelm Schnazer, director of a testing lab in Cologne, testified when called by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He described how testosterone gel affects a doping test. Schnazer's testimony was given over the phone after the hearing started one hour late this morning.
According to the Associated Press, Schnazer explained how testosterone gel causes one of the four components measured in a doping test to spike when others are unaffected. USADA defines a positive test as any one of the components being above a specified threshold.
Pro cyclist Joe Papp, who is serving his own two-year suspension, effective last Thursday, for a positive test for testosterone during the Tour of Turkey last summer, also testified. He provided accounts of how testosterone gel aided the recovery of cyclists during stage races like the Tour. The testimony directly contradicted opening statements by defense attorneys to the effect that testosterone does not benefit racers in stage races.
Read the complete news feature, Landis testifies to his innocence under oath.
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied