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Landis Decision Announced - Appeal Denied!

CyclingNews and other outlets are reporting today that Floyd Landis has lost his appeal to overturn the sanction for his positive drug test from the 2006 Tour de France. The arbitration panel was split 2 to 1, with Christopher Campbell dissenting. 

It is anticipated that ASO, the organizer of the Tour de France, will now officially remove Landis as the winner of the 2006 race and will name Oscar Pereiro in Landis' place. Landis will now be required to serve his 2 year ban, which will likely date from the end of the 2006 Tour (although the New York Times is stating that the ban will be retroactive to January 30th of 2007).

At this point, Landis can either accept the decision of the panel, or he can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He has a month to file the appeal. I would look for it by this time tomorrow. 

The 84 page decision acknowledges that the initial screening test to measure his testosterone levels was not done according to WADA rules, but that the later IRMS test was accurate. Much of Landis' case was based on improper procedures & calibrations related to the IRMS testing at the Chatenay-Malabry lab. The report goes on to state: "...the Panel finds that the practises of the Lab in training its employees appears to lack the vigor the Panel would expect in the circumstances given the enormous consequences to athletes" of an adverse analytical finding. It continues: "If such practises continue, it may well be that in the future, an error like this could result in the dismissal" of a positive finding by the lab. 

This is said to be the reason behind Campbell's dissent. He feels that Landis case should have been one of those dismissed. He goes on to say: "...the T-E ratio test is acknowledged as a simple test to run. The IRMS test is universally acknowledged as a very complicated test to run, requiring much skill. If the LNDD couldn't get the T-E ratio test right, how can a person have any confidence that LNDD got the much more complicated IRMS test correct?" 

Given how the UCI has handled information about positive drug tests in the past, it is no surprise that the UCI's Pat McQuaid was already aware of the decision before it was announced. McQuaid states that "...justice has been done and this is what the UCI felt was correct all along."

Landis states: ''This ruling is a blow to athletes and cyclists everywhere. 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 their case shows that this system is fundamentally flawed. I am innocent, and we proved I am innocent.''

It is said that Landis spent over $2 million dollars defending his case. There is no doubt that the appeal will cost him even more. Should he, at this point, spend his money on fairness for all athletes or continue to fight for himself? If the ban was to date to the end of the 2006 Tour, I would say yes. He would be able to come back and race in the Vuelta next year. See my previous post for my opinions on this.

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