September 20/07 10:23 am - Landis Loses Arbitration Hearing & Tour Title
Posted by Editor on 09/20/07
Landis Loses Arbitration Hearing & Tour Title
The USADA arbitration panel which heard 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis' appeal of of his positive for abnormal testosterone/Epitestosterone levels has ruled against Landis, and thus he will be formally stripped of his Tour title. The victory will now go to second place finisher Oscar Pereiro, a Spanish rider with the the Caisse d'Epargne team.
Landis lost his appeal on a vote of two to one from the three member panel, with Patrice Brunet and Richard McLaren voting against Landis, and Chris Campbell dissenting, saying that the lab had cherry picked the results to obtain the finding they wanted. Brunet and McLaren agreed that the lab had made serious errors in their initial tests, but that the follow up (and more exhaustive) tests proved that doping had taken pace.
Landis will now be suspended for two years, as of January 30th of this year. According to ProTour regulations, he will not be eligible to race for a ProTour squad for another two years.
Landis can still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The full text of the Landis decision can be downloaded Here. The dissenting argument can be found Here. Thanks to our friends at Velonews for providing access to these documents.
Landis, through his legal council, issued the following statement:
After nearly four months of deliberation, the arbitration panel that heard evidence and witnesses during a nine-day arbitration in Malibu, California on May 14, 2007 ruled against Floyd Landis, the winner of the 2006 Tour de France. The Panel's decision was 2 to 1 against Mr. Landis, with a dissent by Christopher Campbell. The majority decision came despite serious charges regarding the accuracy and reliability of the test results and the competency of the testing procedures of the laboratory run by the AFLD. The decision formally strips Floyd Landis of his victory in the 103rd Tour de France.
"This ruling is a blow to athletes and cyclists everywhere," stated Mr. Landis. "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 its case, shows that this system is fundamentally flawed. I am innocent, and we proved I am innocent."
The decision of the arbitrators clearly establishes that, regardless of the evidence presented by the athlete of laboratory errors, the conflicted and coordinated testimony of the anti-doping community -- including heads of other WADA laboratories and experts who receive millions of dollars from USADA -- will prevail over the evidence presented by the athlete.
"The majority Panel's decision is a disappointment, but particularly so because it failed to address the joint impact of the many errors that the AFLD laboratory committed in rendering this false positive. To take each of these errors singly is to ignore the total falsity of the result. The majority panel has disregarded the testimony of Mr. Landis' experts, who are preeminent in their respective fields, without analyzing the impact of the errors on the final result. This is a miscarriage of justice," said Mr. Landis' attorney Maurice Suh, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
Mr. Landis now is currently weighing his future legal alternatives in pursuing his case.