The attorney representing cyclist Floyd Landis has filed a formal request to have the Tour de France champion's case dismissed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, claiming his positive drug test for testosterone violated World Anti-Doping Agency protocol and included a “laboratory error.”
A USADA review board is expected to consider Landis' case in the coming weeks. The board makes a recommendation on whether an athlete should be charged with a doping offense. If Landis is charged, he can appeal to an arbitration panel.
It is difficult to tell how much of yesterday's news release, posted on the cyclist's Web site, is based on substantial assertions and how much is media posturing aimed at swaying the court of public opinion.
USADA protocol precludes it from commenting on cases until they are fully adjudicated, meaning it won't discuss the allegations of testing inconsistencies leveled by Howard Jacobs, Landis' attorney.
Fellow American cyclist Tyler Hamilton, also represented by Jacobs, employed a similar strategy after he tested positive for blood doping in 2004. Hamilton regularly posted updates on his Web site that attacked the scientific integrity of the test and offered several reasons for the positive result.
It wasn't until months later that detailed evidence against him became public. Hamilton is currently serving a two-year ban and in recent months was also implicated in the blood doping scandal uncovered by Spanish authorities.
A motion for dismissal to the review board is considered standard in doping cases. Jacobs argues that results from both types of tests used on Landis' urine contain errors that should “vindicate” the Murrieta resident.
In the carbon isotope ratio test, the release refers to “an unknown laboratory error” but does not elaborate. And Jacobs says the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio test “is replete with fundamental, gross errors” that include mismatched sample code numbers not belonging to Landis.
“I was relieved, but not surprised, when I learned that scientific experts found problems with the test,” Landis is quoted as saying in the release.
Mark Zeigler: (619) 293-2205; firstname.lastname@example.org