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"Positively False"

This article is more than 12 years old.

Positively False, which Floyd Landis wrote with Loren Mooney, is subtitled "The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France."

That subtitle is a little misleading, because a large chunk of the book — about 120 pages - is about what has happened since Landis finished first in the 2006 race. Very shortly after his triumph last summer, Landis learned that one of the tests run on his urine during the race had turned up an illegally high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. Though Landis writes that he knew almost nothing about the details of the test at the time, under pressure from the press he did not hesitate to speculate about the reason for the alarming result: maybe it was the cortisone he'd been taking legally; maybe it was the alcohol he'd consumed between stages of the race; maybe the test made no allowances for the normal range of ratios of testosterone to epitestosterone.

Once he'd learned more about the procedures employed in the laboratory in France where the tests were performed, Landis began to assert that the people performing the lab work were incompetent, and, later, that the agencies responsible for the testing are corrupt and the people running those agencies are liars.

Now, a year after he won the race, Floyd Landis is waiting for an arbitration panel to rule on his appeal of those test results. He's already been fired by his cycling team. He agreed not to ride in the 2007 tour, though he has said he could have done so, given the successful hip replacement he had after the 2006 race. He's been embarrassed by a drunken, threatening phone call made by one of his associates to Greg LeMond, who testified against Landis at the arbitration hearing.

The people who have supported Floyd Landis since he was initially accused of cheating will see Positively False as the necessary rebuttal to the character assassination to which Landis has been subjected over the past year. The people who have decided that professional cycling is a cesspool and has been for years are unlikely to have their minds changed by the book. Their reasoning will be that even if Landis is right about the incompetence of the testers, the positive results can't be entirely meaningless. One conclusion Landis draws toward the end of the book seems incontestable: "The sport of cycling is sick and in need of major reform."

This program aired on July 5, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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