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Home News Cycling: Landis set for last appeal of doping ban

Cycling: Landis set for last appeal of doping ban

Published on 19/03/2008

   NEW YORK, March 19, 2008  - US cyclist Floyd Landis, stripped of his2006 Tour de France victory for doping, makes his appeal to the Court ofArbitration 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 fightingthe positive doping test for steroid testosterone on July 20, 2006, but lost a2-1 ruling before a US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) arbitration panel lastSeptember.   The International Cycling Union stripped Landis of his 2006 crown afterthat verdict, awarding the title to Spain's Oscar Pereiro, who finished 57seconds behind Landis in second place in the 2006 Tour.   Landis, whose ban runs until next January 29, will make his final stand ina Manhattan law office behind closed doors in a hearing expected to run fivedays 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 fromLausanne.   Landis tested positive for synthetic testosterone after the penultimate17th stage of the 2006 race. He fell back in stage 16 but rallied in stage 17to reclaim almost eight minutes on his way to a now-disgraced victory moment.   Landis has maintained his innocence despite the positive test, blamingmistakes in testing procedure by the French laboratory for the result duringhis USADA hearing, which was open to the public.   "I am innocent of the doping allegations against me. I hope that thearbitrators of the case will fairly address the facts showing that the Frenchlaboratory made mistakes, which resulted in a false positive," Landis saidafter announcing his appeal to CAS last October.   "Knowing that the accusations against me are simply wrong, and havingrisked all my energy and resources - including those of my family, friends andsupporters - to show clearly that I won the 2006 Tour de France fair andsquare, I will continue to fight for what I know is right."   Landis attorney Maurice Suh has said he thinks the evidence presented byhis team to a US panel at the earlier hearing was enough to exonerate Landisand will have a chance to test that idea before a global panel.   "We've always believed in the evidence showing that the French laboratory'sflawed techniques and conclusions resulted in a false positive result," Suhsaid.   "This appeal is directed at having a fair-minded arbitration panelrecognize those errors and apply the facts and law to this case. If this isdone, Floyd will have the justice that he seeks."   The USADA arbitration panel noted several areas in which the French lab'shandling of the test sample was improper but said the carbon ratio isotopetest that showed Landis testing positive outweighed those flaws.

AFP