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Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has asked the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to throw out the positive test for testosterone that he delivered after winning the crucial Morzine stage of the Tour. In a motion filed by his lawyer, Howard Jacobs, Landis has challenged the validity of the test, alleging blunders by the French Chatenay Malabry lab that carried out the tests.
The request by Landis came three days after hundreds of pages of details about the testing procedures were received by his legal team. The motion for dismissal claims the tests conducted on Landis's urine sample don't meet World Anti-Doping Agency criteria for a doping positive. "The analysis in this case is replete with fundamental, gross errors," Jacobs said.
Writing on his website, Landis stated: "I did not take testosterone or any other performance-enhancing substance and I'm very happy that the science is confirming my innocence. I was relieved, but not surprised, when I learned that scientific experts found problems with the test. I look forward to restoring my good name so that I can focus on my hip replacement and begin training for next season, when I want to return to France to defend my title."
Landis's appeal attacks the carbon isotope ratio (CIR) test performed on the rider's sample. The test has declared foolproof by the International Cycling Union and anti-doping officials.
But after seeing testing data, Landis claims that:
- Three of four testosterone metabolite differentials tested in his sample were negative considering the margin of error, while WADA protocol requires all such differentials show clear evidence of testosterone to have a positive;
- the lone testosterone metabolite that could be seen as a positive resulted from an unknown laboratory error and is not the result of testosterone usage;
- the metabolite that WADA-accredited labs declare is the best, longest-term indicator of improper testosterone usage was negative in Landis urine samples.
Jacobs has also argued the analysis in Landis's case is filled with errors. "Clinical laboratories making these types of gross errors could easily find themselves answering to a wrongful death lawsuit, and often do," Jacobs said. "At a minimum, those laboratory errors must go to the defence of the athlete." The review panel is expected to make recommendations to USADA within a week.
Landis has also revealed he has been receiving regular calls of support from former team-mate Lance Armstrong, who has had run-ins with the same French lab. "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. I speak to Lance maybe once a week," he added. "It's obviously not fun. Nobody would choose to go through this. But the good thing is he is the one guy who understands the whole situation."