The attorney for Floyd Landis asked Monday that doping charges
be dismissed, hinting for the first time at the Tour de France
winner's official defense that his positive testosterone tests
were flawed and did not meet World Anti-Doping Agency standards.
In a letter sent to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, attorney Howard
Jacobs disputed the accuracy of the carbon isotope ratio tests
performed on Landis' urine sample at a lab in France.
Jacobs also argued the analysis of a different test, the
testosterone-epitestosterone analysis,"is replete with
fundamental, gross errors," including mismatched sample code
numbers. Jacobs said the positive finding on the backup 'B' sample
came from a sample number not assigned to Landis.
"There are too many contradictions for the two to be the same sample," Landis said, according to Agence France-Presse, a global news network.
Both Landis and USADA had representatives at the testing of the
According to Landis' camp, the lab in charge of Landis' sample is the same one that handled Lance Armstrong's samples.
"It's the same lab that we're dealing with here," Landis said. "I said from the beginning there was some kind of agenda or problem with the tests, and it's clear now the lab is the source of the problem."
Jacobs said the positive tests point to a "premature public conviction."
"In our review of the documents detailing the tests on both the
'A' and 'B' sample, we have found evidence that supports our
request for USADA to drop the doping charges against Landis,"
Jacobs said in a statement posted on Landis' Web site Friday.
"While I cannot comment on the full details of our findings, we
now have the foundation for a very strong defense should the case
proceed to arbitration."
Jacobs said he and a team of scientists found "inconsistencies
in the testing protocol and methodology" during a review of 370
pages of documents he received Aug. 31 from the French national
anti-doping laboratory near Paris.
"It's incredibly sloppy" work, Jacobs said in a telephone
interview with The Associated Press. "It has to make you wonder
about the accuracy of the work."
USADA general counsel Travis Tygart said the doping agency
couldn't comment on specific cases but noted it is not unusual for
athletes and their attorneys to seek dismissal of cases.
"Our standard process allows all athletes to make a submission
to the USADA review board, and those submissions are seriously
considered prior to any case going forward," Tygart said.
A review board is expected to issue a recommendation on Landis'
case sometime in the next week. That process could be delayed if
USADA responds directly to Jacobs' letter.
If the review board recommends sanctions against Landis, he is
expected to appeal and ask for an arbitration hearing. Jacobs has
said he would seek a public hearing, and USADA has said it would
agree to that.
"Once again, we are asking for complete transparency in this
process," Jacobs said. "Floyd has maintained his innocence from
the outset and what we have found in the official document package
points to a premature public conviction before all of the evidence
could be considered.
"This is another example why the leaking of an 'A' sample
results and violating the athletes' right to anonymity is such a
horrible thing. It is this exact scenario that caused the rules
governing anti-doping cases in the United States to be amended in
2004, to allow an athlete concerned about fairness to request that
a hearing be opened to the public."
Landis issued a statement reasserting his innocence.
"I did not take testosterone or any other performance-enhancing
substance, and I'm very happy that the science is confirming my
innocence," he said."I was relieved, but not surprised, when I
learned that scientific experts found problems with the test."
Dr. Gary Wadler, a member of WADA and a spokesman for the
American College of Sports Medicine, said Landis' attempt to have
the charges dismissed by questioning the science behind the tests
"It's not useful to speculate about the science, until the
science has had its day in the hearing process," Wadler said.
"Only then do I think we can come to come conclusions. Until then,
any assertion is only an assertion."
Landis told the Philadelphia Inquirer he expected the hearing to take place in December or January.
"I do feel confident [his name will be cleared]," he told the paper. "Things are going to be fine, for sure. First of all, I'm confident because I know I'm innocent. Secondly, if, like I've been told, they're going to give me a fair hearing, then things will be cleared up."
Landis told the paper he will spend his time until the hearing trying to gather other evidence to support his claim of innocence.
"We'll try to get more evidence," he said. "They refuse to provide information for us to make arguments. That's unacceptable. ... I was tested eight times in the Tour. This one came in the middle. We'd like to show this was out of order in the series of tests."
Landis said he was encouraged when Marion Jones was recently cleared after the results of tests on her backup sample came back negative.
"As you see, they just demonstrated that they misrepresented their test," he told the paper. "They've been doing the same thing with the testosterone test. It's not cut-and-dry like they say. ...They need to proceed from here on out with my case and everyone else in the interest of science and fairness, instead of making a name for themselves."
On Friday, the head of the French Council to Prevent and
Combat Doping revealed that 13 riders tested positive for drugs at
the Tour de France this year, and all except Landis had medical
certificates allowing them to take banned substances.
Of the 105 riders tested, 60 percent had the certificates, said
Pierre Bordry, who is concerned by the large number of cyclists who
had such medical certificates, which are approved by the sport's
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.