Landis case: "Win at all costs" vs "systematic failures"; closing arguments come down to science and

In closing statements, attorneys for Floyd Landis and the USADA returned to debating the science of

In closing statements, attorneys for Floyd Landis and the USADA returned to debating the science of

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In the final day of the Floyd Landis hearing yesterday, lawyers for the two sides summed up their cases. The Landis camp continued to go after the quality of the testing that led to Landis being found positive for testosterone after stage 17 of the 2007 Tour de France. The US Anti-Doping Authority defended the testing while claiming that the "win-at-all-costs" attitude of Landis' manager was revealing about Landis' character. "Usually all you get to hear about in a case like this is what was in the athlete's urine," USADA attorney Richard Young said in his closing argument. "In this case, the events and the evidence have also shown us a glimpse of what was in the athlete's mind." Young said that Landis and his manager had displayed a "win at all cost attitude. It gives you an insight into the principles and decision making process, just as when he decided to dope in the Tour de France." That attitude had manifest in Landis' business manager Will Geoghegan allegedly attempting to intimidate Greg LeMond the evening before LeMond was due to give evidence last week. Landis' attorney Maurice Suh briefly apologised for Geoghegan's actions. "We were shocked, and we feel terrible about Mr. Geoghegan," he said. "It was wrong. It was disgusting. But there should be no simple guilt by association, and ultimately, that has nothing to do with the science underlying this case." The science, according to the USADA's Young, is sound. Landis' team had attempted to discredit the experts involved in testing landis' samples, and Young said, they had failed. "You've heard from most of them and can judge their credibility. They take pride in their work, and are not the sort to hide anything or tamper with the results. " "The answer in this case is relatively simple. The science is solid. He had exogenous testosterone. In an effort to win at all costs, he cheated and got caught." Suh, of course, maintains that Landis did not cheat and that the lab tests were flawed at every step. "This is the first case to challenge the systematic failures of a laboratory," he said. "This is a day in court for every athlete that [French anti-doping lab] LNDD has accused. Right now at LNDD, we may have lab techs with 6 months training who think what they are doing is right. "Can we approve of this work? Deleting files, changing data, not being able to identify the substances in question? If we do, that is what is coming to the 2007, 2008, 2009 Tour. "Every athlete deserves to be treated better than this." The arbitration panel won't reveal for some time whether it agrees with Suh or Young. The panellists will now consider their decision and it's expected to be at least a month before they reach a verdict. Whichever way the decision goes, that's unlikely to be the end of this saga. Landis, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Authority will have the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If that happens, then the 2007 Tour de France will start without a clear decision about the winner of the 2006 race.

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