- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2006

Rafael Palmeiro broke into the room of a comatose Floyd Landis and injected him with vitamin B-12 before Stage 17 of the Tour de France, which would support the cyclist’s contention that there is a reasonable explanation behind his exceedingly high levels of testosterone.

Palmeiro, who could not be reached for comment, told members of Congress in March 2005 that he had never used steroids. Ever. Period. End of discussion.

And so it was until Palmeiro came up positive on a steroid test later in the summer, only to hypothesize on the problematic nature of vitamin B-12 injections.

Instead of receiving hotfoots from teammates, Palmeiro received vitamin B-12 injections, possibly in exchange for free samples of Viagra.

Palmeiro’s well-documented devotion to enhancements started with his days as a spokesman with Viagra.

Landis, who was considered to be Dead Man Pedaling following Stage 16 of the Tour de France, miraculously recovered in the next stage, presumably after a visit from Palmeiro, who was not known to make house calls during his playing days.

The theory that Landis is a victim of Palmeiro is no worse than the theories he has been dispensing since his testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio hit the fan.

His ratio was more than double the legal limit, which has led Landis to claim a number of defenses, as follows:

He is an incredibly virile man, he likes an occasional beer as well as a shot of Jack Daniel’s and the dog ate his homework.

Although Landis claims to have testosterone in abundance, he has no prior record of flunking a test.

Perhaps he is only overcome with He-Man juice on certain days of the month, and not coming up positive until his finest moment in cycling was, like his comeback in Stage 17, a miracle of staggering proportions.

Testing has started with Landis’ backup sample, which is expected to be as incriminating as the first. Landis’ team already has conceded the point in order to get out in front of the scandal.

His team also is searching anew for a vaguely plausible line of defense, the latest being that Landis was suffering from dehydration at the time of the test.

“Maybe a combination of dehydration, maximum effort,” his lawyer said.

If that were the case, there possibly would be an awful lot of men looking to become dehydrated.

Or as one anti-doping official put it, “If dehydration was the case, then marathon runners would be testing positive all the time.”

The more Landis’ team works to unearth a theory that resonates with the public, the more guilty Landis looks.

Landis is innocent until proven guilty, of course, but the first test shows there is either something incredibly awry with the French lab or that a combination of beer, whiskey and natural virility, along with dehydration, results in massive amounts of back hair.

At least Landis’ team has not blamed the positive test on a massage therapist, as sprinter Justin Gatlin’s coach has done.

Or pulled a Mel Gibson and blamed it all on the Jews.

That is not to be confused with the flaxseed-oil defense of Barry Bonds.

Or Mark McGwire’s failure to discuss the past on Capitol Hill.

Not everyone can be like Jose Canseco, a juicer who is darn proud of it.

Landis has gone into hiding as the rumors, innuendoes and leaks mount.

He just wants a chance to clear his good name, only he is not making good use of the chance.

He is the guy with the black eye who keeps claiming he ran into a door.

He is under the delusion that his body produces synthetic testosterone, which, to be fair, is not as nutty as the jockey who head-butted his horse or the Seattle man who died after having sex with a horse.

Being a cyclist with no horse sense is preferable to being a jockey gone wild or a horse whisperer gone dead.

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