Landis's situation

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Anonymous's picture

"To anyone whom pauses to think about his positive test, it seems that he is only ""guilty"" of LOW epitestosterone in scoring high on his T/E test, which was no doubt created to detect high T, testosterone, the performance enhancer, not low, E, epitestosterone, which has zip apparently to do with performance enhancement. (People ADD E to mask high T b/c of the T/E ratio test, not take away E!!)

Could something illegal cause low E? Maybe. Was the test designed to detect high T - you betcha. Does high T improve performance, you betcha. Does low E improve performance - ah, that would be NO. E in of itself has no performance enhancement by itself from what I read online.

So why don't the tests test for just high T? If anyone can shed light on this, and why his E could be low, I'd like to see him vindicated, not as vilified."

Anonymous's picture
el jefe (not verified)
Ratio test

My understanding from what I read yesterday (mostly from links posted on this board) is that the body decreases its production of E only in response to elevated levels of T. That's why the ratio test works. I also read that the usual reason for increased T is artificial supplementation.

Anonymous's picture
jeff (not verified)

An interesting interview with Dr. Gary Wadler, a member of the WADA panel:

and this:

Note that a carbon isotope test can determine definitively if the 'excess' testosterone is endogenous or exogenous, and that while it is unusual for the 'A' and 'B' samples to differ, it is only with the test of the 'B' sample that the carbon isotope test MAY be performed. Without this test, results will remain inconclusive even if the 'A' and 'B' samples yield the same ratios in their results.

Anonymous's picture
jeff (not verified)

Something worth reading from Ray Cipollini:

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Jack Daniel's

Wall St. Journal article today cites evidence for alcohol consumption as culprit. Floyd drowned his sorrows after losing the maillot jaune--the ageless comforter of humankind.

Anonymous's picture
Dave Sabbarese (not verified)
Yeah, and what about . . .

". . .in addition to his lousy testosterone/epitestosterone ratio, ESPN reported that he also tested + for a synthetic ""masking"" agent commonly used to hide the hormone imbalance. When caught in a hotel room with someone you shouldn't be with, and shown photos of said tryst, there are only 3 things you can do. Deny, deny, deny . . . ."

Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)
thanks in advance

Dang. Masking agent, too? Would you mind pasting the link if you have a chance?

Anonymous's picture
Herb Dershowitz (not verified)

faulty masking agent :-)

Anonymous's picture
Dave Sabbarese (not verified)
masking agent clarification

. . . sorry pedalpusher, I did not read it anywher. The first thing I did when I got home last night after work was turn on ESPN's Sportscenter broadcast, where they, as you might imagine, devoted the first part of the show to the scandal, and it is there where I heard this.

Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)
thanks, Dave (nm)
Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
If ESPN reported that, they made it up.

"If Landis had been positive for a ""masking agent"", that would be the reason for banning him, not the T/E ratio (which would then be irrelevant).

And the fact is that the positive test is for a higher than 4:1 T/E ratio, not a high T as many have reported (in other words, the problem might be created by a low E, rather than a high T level).

When the B sample is tested, they should do the carbon isotope test which will show whether there is exogenous T present. That will mean one of two things: either Landis took in T from some outside source or the sample was spiked.

Quite possibly it will show no exogenous T and then an explanation for the higher than normal T/E ratio will have to be examined (e.g., perhaps after depleting exercise--when not eating enough, i.e., Landis on stage 16--and then consuming alcohol -- beer + whiskey -- the E level drops -- has anyone ever tested that hypothesis?).

See, for reference on the tests:"

Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)

How our media can't even get Floyd's name right until there is the suggestion of scandal. If not for any other reason, I hope is second tests are negative so those idiots will shut their mouths.

Anonymous's picture
fastdoctorslowcyclist (not verified)
If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck...

Just to clarify (speaking as a physician here)

Testosterone and epitestosterone are both members of the family of steroid hormones. The body synthesizes all of these hormones from a common precursor, cholesterol. Testosterone is one end product of this pathway (there are several others), and epitestosterone is a breakdown product of one of the intermediates in the pathway, called DHEA, which itself is a testosterone precursor and is also an illegal substance. The production of testosterone is tightly regulated by our central nervous systems, and while it does vary with stress and other conditions, the more T we make, the more E gets made as a byproduct, and the T/E ratio should not vary so much. Some have asked whether Floyd might just have a high ratio of T/E naturally, and maybe the 4:1 cutoff of an unaturally high ratio used by WADA led to a false positive result. Not likely. Remember, Floyd had been tested multiple times before, and had never shown this ratio before. The question of whether alcohol or the stress of stage 16-alsonot likely. A stimulus to make more T will automatically cause more E to be made.

Believe me, noone was rooting more for Landis than I. I still hope the B sample shows something different. Inside, though, I probably have the same sinking feeling many American cycling fans do right now.

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
Not that simple.

"Poor sample handling, bacterial contamination, etc.

Check out these references --

Swedish study on effect of alcohol (you have to pay for the article):

effect of bacteria, et al:

Can you name one cyclist who has been banned based on one ""positive"" T/E ratio test absent other evidence?

In fact, in all sports, this test result alone has been overturned as often as not. (The current Gatlin case in T&F is reportedly based on the carbon isotope test, which demonstrates an exogenous source, not the simple T/E ratio test.)

Of course, it's also possible that another person used a banned substance on him without his knowledge, e.g., the masseur (that's what Gatlin claims)."

Anonymous's picture
rbj (not verified)
why testosterone?

there's one aspect no one seems to be talking about - why would a top tour rider take testosterone (steroids)? - as far as i know, this has no benefit for an endurance athlete, and is even detrimental (builds bulk, something a tour rider definitely does NOT want).
something seems fishy to me.

Anonymous's picture
DvB (not verified)
I had thought the same thing, but . . .

". . . An article in today's NYT quotes a former pro as saying that riders indeed get a short term benefit from testosterone. Jesus Manzano says, ""It gives you a lot of strength, and it works very well. It produces a euphoria.""

My understanding is that this guy was paid to squeal about cheating, so who knows how credible he is. But it's worrisome nonetheless."

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Why Testosterone?

Androgen Action in the Kidneys

Androgen receptors located in the kidneys are responsible for augmenting the stimulation of red blood cell production, or more specifically the process or erythropoiesis. They of course only play a supportive role; otherwise androgens would be essential to blood oxygen carrying capacity and life function, which they are not. Their role however remains significant. Men and women for example display notable variances in red blood cell content, with men carrying a much higher concentration of red blood cells in comparison. As follows, castration of the male testicles (eliminating testosterone production) will result in an approximate 10% drop of red cell mass, as well as a decrease in red blood cell diameter and life span. Women given therapeutic doses of testosterone similarly notice an increase in the concentration of hemoglobin of about 43g/l, and hematocrit increases by about 11%. Although not the key regulators of this process, we can see that androgens clearly influence the rate of erythropoiesis in humans.

The exact process of erythropoiesis appears somewhat complex, as do most body functions when under examination. Red blood cells begin as immature and physically undetermined stem cells, which reside in the bone marrow waiting to be called upon by the body for various blood and lymph system uses. In the case of red blood cells, the renal hormone erythropoietin is the signal that tells the bone marrow to form these cells from stem cells. They will develop first into a series of immature precursor cells, and ultimately adult red blood cells. The normal stimulus for the production and release of erythropoietin is hypoxia, or a lower than ideal supply of oxygen to the body tissues. High red blood cell concentrations alternately serve as a feedback mechanism, lowering the release of erythropoietin so that RBC concentrations to not get over elevated. Androgens are known to primarily act at the level of erythropoietin, enhancing the release of this hormone from renal tissue. It is also suggested however that androgens may affect the stem cell directly, perhaps by enhancing cell responsiveness to erythropoietin.

RBC Concentrations and Performance

If we would like to look at the performance enhancing effects of altering red blood cell concentrations, the most obvious group to focus on are endurance athletes. Blood oxygen carrying ability is inextricable to a person’s capacity for endurance exercise, so athletes in this area above others are aware of the methods and benefits of enhancing red blood cell concentrations. Endurance athletes for instance have made the practice of blood doping infamous. This procedure involves the removal and storage of blood cells, which are infused back into the body within one week of competition time. The athlete is given enough of a window (usually 5 to 6 weeks) to replenish the earlier withdrawn cells, so this infusion works to increase the overall concentration of red blood cells above what the body would produce normally.

A typical blood doping procedure as outlined can increase performance considerably. Figures using 750ml of packed red blood cells for example show a 26.5% increase in hematocrit (the ratio of the volume of packed red blood cells to the volume of whole blood) and an increase in the maximum oxygen uptake capacity of 12.8% after the procedure. In such a state it is easier for the body to transport oxygen to various tissues, enhancing aerobic capacity and endurance, and reducing submaximal heart rate and blood lactate buildup. Many have sworn by this method over the years, believing it to be the difference between winning and losing on many occasions. With the expected improvement in oxygen carrying capacity usually measuring between 5% and 13% in increase, we can certainly see why.

Anabolic and Erythropoietic Potency

Bodybuilders of course could usually care less about blood doping, however we do occasi

Anonymous's picture
Bill (not verified)
Well put John Z


Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)
some basics

LH and FSH are released by the pituitary in a pulsatile manner. The pulses depend on circadian rhythms and affect testosterone production. Testosterone is cleared in the liver.

Stress and chronic training do affect the pituitary and production of these hormones. One sample is generally inadequate to draw any conclusions.

So let's see what the more involved testing shows.
I have my fingers crossed.

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
Those variations show up in the blood, not the urine.

Supposedly, the T/E ratio in the urine remains consistent.

In this case, probably uniquely for someone in this situation, Landis was tested 4 times in 6 days (stages 15, 17, 19 & 20, with 17 the questioned one ). Plus he was tested at least twice earlier in the TdF and multiple times in other races this year (none of which he would know the results if they were negative). So there are already a lot of data to work with.

Anonymous's picture
jmf (not verified)

Anyone with thoughts on or knowledge about testosterone / cortisone similarites or interference in the testosterone test by cortisone breakdown products?

Anonymous's picture
a (not verified)

Breakdown products of the cortisol pathway are identified separately from the testosterone pathway in WADA's HPLC urinalysis system. They can identify which is which by this method. There are a lot of people that take cortosone and other steroids, and do not need either testosterone supplementation or have problems with high levels to testosterone. This is because cortisol production is regulated separately from testosterone, and hence the two do not really interfere with each other that much.

HE IS GUILTY!!!! (allegedly, of course)

Anonymous's picture
Matt Bushell (not verified)
Potential Defense

A good article citing effect of alcohol:

It'd be interesting to see if he is normally pretty close to the 4:1 barrier, (say, 3.5:1) , then even the small amount of alcohol he did ingest could have tipped him over the edge.

Anonymous's picture
Sam (not verified)

"An interesting article about the reputation on the cycling support:

The article concludes: ""Landis has also hired a medical expert who he says has a 100% record of explaining away elevated testosterone levels to the satisfaction of this matter's probable final judge and jury, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

But that isn't going to happen any time soon.

In the meantime, Landis and cycling are being tried in the court of public opinion.

Sadly, the judge has recently been hit by a bicycle courier on a zebra crossing and the jury is full of white van drivers and cabbies."""

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
NYT reports it was synthetic T

Carbon isotope test was done and it shows synthetic T, i.e., exogenous source, according to unnamed person at UCI. Also the ratio was 11:1.

Anonymous's picture
David R (not verified)
Newish Article
Anonymous's picture
carl (not verified)

Floyd has to hope his B sample tests negative (Saturday the report is due out) as this new report goes that it found the testosterone in the first test was of the synthetic type. If this is true, it does not look good for Landis.
The UCI allows 4 to 1 ratio and Landis had 11 to 1 according to sources reported today in the NYT. Landis' defense will be to will that his ratio is normally higher that the average, but the synthetic testosterone will be a problem...

Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)
the process. . .

"What's been worrying me the last few days is FL's consistent use of the phrase ""doping process,"" as in, ""I'm not in any doping process.""

So FL hasn't been taking performance-enhancing drugs on a weekly / monthly schedule. His comment sort of creates a linguistic loophole for the testosterone patch he may or may not have stuck to his undercarriage the night before stage 17. A single application of the patch doesn't necessarily constitute a 'process.' He could be technically telling the truth. It's ultimately pretty unimportant, but it feels like the wall is starting to crumble. . ."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
I finally beat someone up a hill & I wish it to be known that...

For the first time in recent memory--which is to say around fifteen or twenty years--I actually beat someone up a hill Sunday.

Because of all the chatter about stimulants, I wish it to be known I rode clean.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
Congratulations, Richard!!

And thanks for making me laugh. When I started running faster, it actually did occur to me that people might wonder what I was taking!

Anonymous's picture
jeff (not verified)

some more, perhaps interesting reading--this time about
Justin Gatlin's positive testosterone test:

cycling trips