Landis found guilty of doping

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Landis found guilty of doping

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:57 am

The Tour de France champ will be stripped of his 2006 title and suspended from competition.
By Michael A. Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


A three-member arbitration panel today found 2006 Tour de France champion Floyd Landis guilty of doping with testosterone during the marquee race and stripped him of his title. The panel's 2-1 ruling also suspended the Murietta-based cyclist from further competition until Jan. 29, 2009.

The ruling, which follows a nine-day evidentiary hearing held in May, is likely to spur considerable controversy over the legal standards employed by the international anti-doping program, which is overseen by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The panel, for example, ruled that the initial testosterone screen of Landis' urine sample was done improperly by WADA's Paris laboratory and threw those results out. But it upheld the later confirmation test performed by the same lab, even though the confirmation would not have been performed if the initial screen had been ruled clean.

The panel majority also acknowledged that the Paris lab's procedures, which had been questioned by Landis' defense, gave "some cause for concern." But it found that its shortcomings did not invalidate the ultimate results.

In a strongly worded dissent, arbitrator Christopher Campbell contended that the evidence at the hearing demonstrated "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the Paris lab was "not trustworthy" and "failed to abide by its legal and ethical obligations." He said Landis should be found innocent.

Landis' attorney, Maurice Suh, said after the ruling that the cyclist and his defense team were "weighing all our options," possibly including seeking a review of the case in a federal court or pursuing an appeal to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Landis loses appeal, undecided about taking case to CAS

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:58 am

Source: ABC News

Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title and can receive a two-year ban after losing his appeal of a positive doping test on a 2-1 decision by US arbitrators announced this morning (Australian time).

US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) officials and Landis' attorneys gave evidence to the three-man arbitration panel over nine days in May, the US cycling star maintaining his innocence despite testing positive for synthetic testosterone.

"I am innocent and we proved I am innocent," Landis said in a statement.

Landis now has only one possible path to regain his crown from the 103rd Tour and avoid a suspension through the end of January of 2009 - appealing the verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Pearl Piatt, a spokeswoman for Landis, said there has been no decision by the US cyclist on whether or not to press his case before CAS, which has jurisdiction to render a final verdict.

"We're still digesting the report," she said. "They are still reading the opinion closely and looking at it."

USADA chief executive officer Travis Tygart said the ruling "was a victory for all clean athletes and everyone who values fair and honest competition".

"This case is really just another sad example of the crisis of character which plagues some of today's athletes and undermines the honest achievements of all of those athletes who compete with integrity," he said.

"Hopefully, some of the good that comes from this type of case is that other athletes who might be tempted to cheat will recognise that there is no honour in doping to win."

The International Cycling Union (UCI), the sport's international governing body, declared Oscar Pereiro the 2006 Tour de France champion. The Spaniard finished second, 57 seconds behind Landis.

"We can right now say that Pereiro is the winner of the Tour without waiting for a possible appeal by Landis to the Court of Arbitration for Sport," UCI president Pat McQuaid said.

Landis appeared to have fallen out of contention after struggling to the finish of stage 16 in the 2006 Tour, but he rallied to win stage 17 with a stunning effort, pulling back almost eight minutes on his way to an eventual triumph that was tainted by the doping positive and undone by the lost appeal.

Landis was not expected to make public comments on the matter before Monday, Piatt saying that "if it happens it would be next week".

Arbitrators Patrice Brunet and Richard McLaren ruled against Landis while Christopher Campbell dissented.

The verdict comes almost four months after the longest anti-doping hearing in US history, a rare public session in which Landis' lawyers questioned the chain of command from the French laboratory that handles Landis' testing.

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Cyclist found guilty of doping, stripped of Tour title

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:48 pm

Landis loses appeal
Cyclist found guilty of doping, stripped of Tour title

PARIS (AP) -- The verdict said "guilty."

Like so much else in the confusing, contentious Floyd Landis doping case, though, none of the answers are really that simple.

Landis lost his expensive and explosive case Thursday when two of three arbitrators upheld the results of a test that showed the 2006 Tour de France champion used synthetic testosterone to fuel his spectacular comeback victory.

The decision means Landis, who repeatedly has denied using performance-enhancing drugs, must forfeit his Tour title and is subject to a two-year ban, retroactive to Jan. 30, 2007.

Not that it changes his opinion of who the rightful winner was.

"I am innocent," he said, "and we proved I am innocent."

The majority of the panel disagreed.

According to documents obtained by The Associated Press, lead arbitrator Patrice Brunet and Richard McLaren voted to uphold the positive test with Christopher Campbell dissenting.

In its 84-page decision, the majority found the initial screening test to measure Landis' testosterone levels -- the testosterone-to-epitestosterone test -- was not done according to World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

But the more precise and expensive carbon-isotope ratio analysis (IRMS), performed after a positive T-E test is recorded, was accurate, the arbitrators said, meaning "an anti-doping rule violation is established."

"As has been held in several cases, even where the T-E ratio has been held to be unreliable ... the IRMS analysis may still be applied," the majority wrote. "It has also been held that the IRMS analysis may stand alone as the basis" of a positive test.

"Today's ruling is a victory for all clean athletes and everyone who values fair and honest competition," U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart said.

Now, Landis is left with one final way to possibly salvage his title -- an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

If Landis doesn't appeal -- or appeals and loses -- he'll be the first person in the 105-year history of the race to lose the title because of a doping offense.

Given the vigor with which he pursued the case, and the more than $2 million he raised to do it, this goes down as a devastating loss for the 31-year-old cyclist from Murietta, Calif.

He has steadfastly insisted that cheating goes against everything he stands for. He said he was merely a pawn in the anti-doping system's all-consuming effort to find cheaters and keep money flowing to its labs and agencies.

"This ruling is a blow to athletes and cyclists everywhere," Landis said. "For the Panel to find in favor of USADA when, with respect to so many issues, USADA did not manage to prove even the most basic parts of their case shows that this system is fundamentally flawed."

He is still weighing his legal options, according to a statement released by his legal team.

"This is a miscarriage of justice," said Maurice Suh, the lead attorney for Landis.

"He is at the mercy of people much bigger than him," said Landis' mother, Arlene, speaking to WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Pa.

The decision comes more than a year after Landis' stunning comeback in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour, one that many people said couldn't be done without some kind of outside help.

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