Leipheimer, who makes his home in Santa Rosa and has been a winner of
the Tour of California and a top finisher in the Tour de France, has
never tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug or method.
the right way,'" PD writer Bob Padecky quoted Leipheimer defending
"There is no truth to what hePadecky then added:
is saying. No truth at all. When a story like this comes out, all you
can do is stand up for yourself."
It'sThe PD wasn't the only newspaper dedicating columns to the supposed good name of Leipheimer.
not that difficult for Leipheimer to do, given his stature in Santa
Rosa. It is made that much easier when his image is placed alongside
The cyclist used to live in Salt Lake City, and his coach Maximo Testa currently resides in Utah. That was enough of a local angle for the Salt Lake Tribune to use Testa as the main source for the May 20 story "Landis doping admission rattles cycling." The story quoted Testa as saying:
"I have worked with Levi for four years and he is one of the last persons I'd think of would do something like that."
However, on December 4, 1996, the online version of the cycling publication Winning: Bicycle Racing Illustrated ran the following item, drawn from a press release issued by USA Cycling, the sport's governing body:
A USA Cycling disciplinary panel recommended that Levi Leipheimer receive a three-month suspension as a result of a violation of Bylaw N., Section 2, Part 4, Prohibited Practices, stemming from competition at the USCF Amateur Men's Criterium Championship, Aug. 18 in Grandview Heights, Ohio. That recommendation has been upheld by Lisa Voight, USA Cycling executive director. The 23-year-old Leipheimer will be required to return his national championship jersey, medal and prize money. He will also be suspended from the U.S. National Team for the same period. The decision is subject to appeal.
"Prohibited Practices. No rider may use the substances listed in Table 1 or Table 2."
In contemporary press accounts, Leipheimer was indeed crowned 1996 National Criterium Champion.
But USA Cycling spokeswoman Keri Kahn was kind enough to send me a list of national champions who actually made it into the official record book -- that's to say the ones whose titles weren't retroactively rescinded.
The official 1996 national criterium champion was Matt Johnson, who actually finished second to Leipheimer on the date of the event.
Kahn said doping suspension records from that year weren't easily obtainable. A request to interview Leipheimer, placed through his team's press spokesman, had not been responded to by press time.
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