MALIBU, Calif. -- Floyd Landis went through an uncomfortable cross-examination yesterday, answering questions about the timing of the firing of his manager, who threatened to reveal that Greg LeMond was sexually abused as a child if he testified.
It was yet another provocative morning in the Tour de France champion's arbitration hearing, which has veered wildly between boring, dense science, and allegations of witness tampering and who knew what when.
During the 2 1/2 hours of testimony, attorneys from the US Anti-Doping Agency dredged up the events revealed by LeMond's startling testimony Thursday. On that day, LeMond testified he'd received a phone call the night before from Landis's manager, Will Geoghegan, who threatened to divulge the three-time Tour champion's secret.
"Would you agree, that as my mother used to say, that a person's character is revealed more by their actions than their words?" USADA attorney Matthew Barnett asked Landis. "It sounds like a good saying," Landis said.
Then Barnett tried to portray Landis and Geoghegan as planning to intimidate and humiliate LeMond and not showing remorse until they got caught.
Barnett tried to pin down Landis on when, exactly, he told his attorneys of the call Geoghegan made last Wednesday night, and why he or his legal team waited to fire Geoghegan until after LeMond revealed details of the call.
LeMond's testimony didn't come until Thursday afternoon, and Geoghegan was sitting behind the defense table for the hearing Thursday morning.
With his attorneys, Howard Jacobs and Maurice Suh, objecting frequently to Barnett's questions, Landis testified he told his attorneys about the call as soon as he arrived at the hearing room Thursday, 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, pointing 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 he had it in for LeMond.
The entire episode shifted the focus away from the science that presumably will decide the case.
"You knew it would shatter your credibility if it came out that Geoghegan made the call?" Barnett asked, trying to prove Landis was hoping his manager would get away with the call.
"He's my friend," Landis said. "I guess I assumed he'd make a big deal out of the call. Yeah, I mean, it was a big deal."
An expert for Landis, Simon Davis, testified in the afternoon about faulty scientific procedures that the Landis camp claims led to his positive test.
Davis said calibration tests were run too infrequently on the machines that ran Landis's urine tests.
"I think they're totally unreliable," Davis said. "I have lots of reasons."