Cycling: Landis set for last appeal of doping ban

19th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

US cyclist Floyd Landis, stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory for doping, makes his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport

   NEW YORK, March 19, 2008  - US cyclist Floyd Landis, stripped of his
2006 Tour de France victory for doping, makes his appeal to the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Wednesday in a do-or-die bid to regain his title.
   The 32-year-old American has spent about two million dollars in fighting
the positive doping test for steroid testosterone on July 20, 2006, but lost a
2-1 ruling before a US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) arbitration panel last
   The International Cycling Union stripped Landis of his 2006 crown after
that verdict, awarding the title to Spain's Oscar Pereiro, who finished 57
seconds behind Landis in second place in the 2006 Tour.
   Landis, whose ban runs until next January 29, will make his final stand in
a Manhattan law office behind closed doors in a hearing expected to run five
days and present much of the same evidence as was heard by the USADA panel last May.
   The Swiss-based court eventually will announce its binding ruling from
   Landis tested positive for synthetic testosterone after the penultimate
17th stage of the 2006 race. He fell back in stage 16 but rallied in stage 17
to reclaim almost eight minutes on his way to a now-disgraced victory moment.
   Landis has maintained his innocence despite the positive test, blaming
mistakes in testing procedure by the French laboratory for the result during
his USADA hearing, which was open to the public.
   "I am innocent of the doping allegations against me. I hope that the
arbitrators of the case will fairly address the facts showing that the French
laboratory made mistakes, which resulted in a false positive," Landis said
after announcing his appeal to CAS last October.
   "Knowing that the accusations against me are simply wrong, and having
risked all my energy and resources - including those of my family, friends and
supporters - to show clearly that I won the 2006 Tour de France fair and
square, I will continue to fight for what I know is right."
   Landis attorney Maurice Suh has said he thinks the evidence presented by
his team to a US panel at the earlier hearing was enough to exonerate Landis
and will have a chance to test that idea before a global panel.
   "We've always believed in the evidence showing that the French laboratory's
flawed techniques and conclusions resulted in a false positive result," Suh
   "This appeal is directed at having a fair-minded arbitration panel
recognize those errors and apply the facts and law to this case. If this is
done, Floyd will have the justice that he seeks."
   The USADA arbitration panel noted several areas in which the French lab's
handling of the test sample was improper but said the carbon ratio isotope
test that showed Landis testing positive outweighed those flaws.


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