Landis Guilty of Doping: USADA levies 2 year ban from cycling
Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) announced today that Floyd Landis' appeal to the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to overturn his sanction by the Anti-Doping Review Board (ADRB) for his alleged positive drug test on July 20, 2006 during the Tour de France was denied. The three member arbitration panel, led by president Patrice Brunet along with Christopher Campbell and Richard McLaren, was split 2-1 in the guilty verdict, with Campbell dissenting.
The decision will likely have some instant effects, with the ASO chomping at the bit to remove Landis as the 2006 winner. The next possible steps in the case involve either Landis accepting his sanction from the USADA or appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland -- with the second much more likely.
UCI president Pat McQuaid spoke with Cyclingnews about the decision Thursday afternoon. "It is true, we have been on to USADA and others about it," McQuaid said. "We can confirm that Pereiro will be the winner of the 2006 Tour de France, and that Floyd Landis will get a two year ban." There has been no official statement on the start date of the ban, but McQuaid speculated it would run from the end of the 2006 Tour.
The adverse analytical finding came from a drug test performed after Landis' seemingly superhuman comeback in stage 17 of the 2006 Tour. Three days after the Tour finished the news of a presumptive positive by Landis was leaked to the media. Faced with the prematurely leaked information before he could even wrap his own head around the situation, Landis fired off a variety of possible explanations.
The findings indicated that Landis' testosterone level was well above the acceptable limit, which prompted the testing lab to look for exogenous testosterone. The French LNDD lab (Laboratoire de Chatenay-Malabry) found synthetic testosterone in Landis' samples.