Muscle Sport Magazine

Floyd Landis Being Made An Example

Doping Appeal Denied; ’06 Tour de France Title Lost

Adding insult to injury, the Court of Arbitration for Sport handed down a tough decision on Floyd Landis and literally made him pay. After being denied his appeal, the cyclist was roundly criticized in the decision and ordered to hand over $100,000 towards the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency legal fees.

This is the second setback for Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France championship after testing positive for testosterone. All told, he has spent more than $2 million of his own and fundraiser’s money on his appeals, all for naught. When you look into this case further, it is apparent that Landis never had a prayer and looks like an anti-doping punching bag.

Seeing light at the end of the tunnel, Landis used part of his arbitration case from last May as his defense for the latest one. His two-year ban was upheld then, but the panel “scolded” the USADA, along with their testing labs, for “using practices that were less than airtight.”

A 58-page decision handed down by a three-person panel were not swayed by the case brought before them by Maurice Suh, Landis’ attorney, stating that the lab in France followed international standards. They read Landis, 32, the riot act, in that his case was based on muddling the evidence and embarrassing the French lab.

“The Panel has found no evidence at all to sustain any of these serious allegations,” part of the decision read. “Moreover, the Panel is surprised that such allegations should be pursued in the closing brief when it must have been clear at the end of the hearing that there was no evidential basis from expert testimony or otherwise support them.”

Predictably, Travis Tygart reveled in the aftermath of the decision. “We are pleased that justice was served and that Mr. Landis was not able to escape the consequences of his doping or his effort to attack those who protect the rights of clean athletes,” the USADA CEO told reporters.

While Landis’ attorney harped on the fact that the USADA and World Doping Agency have more resources than the individual athlete – who has to pay for his own appeal – that would not have made a difference in this case. Even though both sets of arbitrators agreed that there was “less than ideal laboratory practices” used, they would not budge on the validity and integrity of the test. Once that was established in their minds, the case was over.

The Landis camp did not have a chance from day one. How would it have looked less than a week before the 2008 Tour de France is set to begin to give a banned cyclist his title back? It would have – in the eyes of the sport – set a bad precedent for other competitors.

Add the fact that the summer Olympics are just around the corner, and international competition is looking to distance itself away from performance-enhancing drugs and anyone that allegedly used them. Landis’ timing couldn’t have been worse, which of course, is no fault of his.

If this did anything, it strengthened the position of the Anti-Doping Agencies following what looks to be sloppy work on their part. Rest assured, the next time they have a lab – especially the one in question in France – perform a drug test, they will dot their I’s and cross their T’s.

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