Archive for Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Landis portrayed as ruthless individual

Cyclist faces rough cross-examination regarding representative’s phone call to LeMond

May 23, 2007


— Part science, part circus, the Floyd Landis hearing gyrated through more tawdry testimony Tuesday, with questions about testosterone, telephone calls and neckties filling the Tour de France champion's stay on the witness stand.

Attorneys used Landis' cross-examination to portray him as someone who hangs with the wrong crowd and would do anything to win his case, including trying to intimidate and humiliate Greg LeMond, whose revelations of sexual abuse and potential witness tampering turned this hearing into a melodrama.

"Would you agree, that as my mother used to say, that a person's character is revealed more by their actions than their words?" U.S. Anti-Doping Agency attorney Matthew Barnett asked Landis.

"It sounds like a good saying," Landis said.

Barnett dredged up events surrounding testimony LeMond gave last Thursday. On that day, the three-time Tour champion testified he'd received a phone call the night before from Landis' manager, Will Geoghegan, who threatened to divulge LeMond's secret.

Barnett tried to portray Landis and Geoghegan as scheming together to keep LeMond from testifying, then not showing remorse until they got caught.

Landis said that although he was sitting near Geoghegan when the manager made the call last Wednesday night, he didn't know what was going on until later.

Barnett tried to pin him down on when, exactly, he told his attorneys of the call, and why he waited to fire Geoghegan until after LeMond revealed details of the call on the witness stand. Landis testified he told his attorneys about the call as soon as he arrived to the hearing room, though nobody thought to fire Geoghegan until after LeMond's testimony.

"In hindsight, I probably should have fired him immediately, but I needed someone to talk to," Landis said.

USADA attorneys tried to portray Landis as an active participant in the LeMond plan. They pointed to his wardrobe that day - a black suit with a black tie instead of the yellow tie he's worn every other day of the hearing - as evidence that he had it in for LeMond.

"That's why I wore the black suit, because it was a terrible thing that happened," Landis said. "It wasn't a thing to celebrate by wearing a yellow tie."

Was the black tie symbolic support for LeMond?

"No. It was a disaster. Nothing good could come out of that day," Landis said.

Only bad things have come out of that day for Landis, whose new manager, Brent Kay, opened this week by releasing a letter saying Geoghegan had entered a rehab clinic. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant based in Malibu said a detective is investigating the police report LeMond filed after receiving the call.

USADA attorneys asked him about his decision to join the Phonak cycling team despite knowing the team had well-documented problems with doping.

"While I was concerned about it, if I understood they were going to make changes that were the source of the problems, then I was happy with that," Landis said.


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