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Awaiting Test Results, Landis Fears for Reputation

Floyd Landis faces the loss of his Tour de France title if doping suspicions prove to be accurate. But as Landis awaits the results of a second test, he is worried that his reputation will still suffer, even if the results exonerate him.

"There's no evidence of any unnatural substance in my body," Landis said. "I can not explain it, because this is as equally new to me as it is to anyone else paying attention to this case right now."

The Phonak cycling team, which Landis leads, has threatened to fire him if the "B sample" tests confirm an elevated ratio of testosterone and epitestosterone.

Holding a news conference in Madrid for the second straight day, Landis went on the offensive, vigorously denying that he cheated to win. He maintains that any testosterone in his system is naturally produced by his body.

Landis started the week as cycling's new superstar, with an image as a rebellious rider who battled unimaginable pain -- he raced with a degenerative hip condition that will require surgery.

But now his image, and his hopes of retaining his Tour title, let alone defend it, may be determined by the results of his second urine sample from the 17th stage.

NPR's Michele Norris talks with Landis, who is currently in Spain.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.