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Landis case gets even more contentious
Equipe: Landis B-samples contain synthetic testosterone
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
The analysis of seven of Floyd Landis urine 'B' samples, taken during the 2006 Tour de France, show traces of synthetic testosterone, according to the French newspaper L'Equipe. The analysis of the seven samples which were initially classified as negative after the 'A'-sample test panel was carried out at the Châtenay-Malabry (LNDD) laboratory, but were subjected to further testing on the 'B'-samples at the request of the US Antidoping Agency (USADA).
The 'A'-samples had been subjected to the routine screening test panel which includes the testosterone:epitestosterone (T:E) ratio analysis but not the IRMS analysis for synthetic testosterone.
The other half of those urine samples were tested by IRMS at the French laboratory last week, and allegedly show several samples with traces of exogenous testosterone, backing up the laboratory's previous results on the sample from stage 17, which had a high T:E ratio and was later found to have traces of exogenous testosterone by IRMS. However, no the results had not yet been officially released by the LNDD at the time of this posting.
If correct, the results will bolster USADA's case against Landis, which goes in front of an arbitration panel on May 14. Landis faces a two year sanction and the loss of his Tour de France title if he loses the case.
While L'Equipe states that the analysis was done in the presence of two expert witnesses appointed by Landis and two for USADA, Landis' spokesperson Michael Henson was quick to release a statement which claims that Landis' expert witness, former UCLA antidoping laboratory director of clients, Paul Scott, was denied entry to the LNDD. "According to Scott, LNDD lab director Jacques de Ceaurriz did not allow him to enter the facility Sunday morning. Ceaurriz cited direct orders from USADA to prohibit any further observation of the ongoing retesting."
The press release stated that, "As such, the analysis of two samples was conducted without a Landis representative as witness. Such behavior constitutes a clear and direct infringement of Landis' rights while casting severe doubt on the integrity of an already dubious process."
The statement continued, "This latest incident comes on the heels of a week in which Landis' observers have been repeatedly and improperly restricted from accessing key phases of data processing and analysis while USADA's expert and lawyer were able to have free lab access and directed the retesting process of LNDD.
According to the statement, the USADA observers were seen providing instructions to the LNDD staff and conferring with them in private during the sample processing.
Landis' legal team had previously fought against having the samples tested, and then argued for having them analysed at the UCLA lab rather than the LNDD, but that request was denied.
The World anti-doping agency, WADA, told Cyclingnews that since the re-testing of the samples was at the request of USADA, and not part of the normal testing procedures, that they do not receive the results of the testing. However, the leak of the results to L'Equipe was a concern. "WADA is concerned and disappointed by any breach of confidentiality that may occur following laboratory analysis... WADA's role in this case is to assess the sanctioning process conducted by the relevant anti-doping organizations," said Frédéric Donzé, WADA's media relations manager. "Should WADA consider that a decision does not comply with the World Anti-Doping Code, the Agency determines whether it should exercise any rights of appeal that may exist."
Landis reacted to the news saying, "This is yet another in a series of malicious actions by USADA that tramples my right to have my case heard in fair and just way," said Landis. "How can I be expected to prove my innocence while USADA endeavors to break their own rules at every turn? I’m infuriated by the behavior of USADA and the LNDD. Together, they have turned this proceeding into a full-scale attack on my civil rights and a mockery of justice."
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case