The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday dismissed US cyclist Floyd Landis' appeal to overturn a positive doping test that resulted in the stripping of his 2006 Tour de France title.
The CAS upheld an earlier decision by the American Arbitration Association, saying that Landis would be banned for two years starting January 30, 2007.
It also ordered the disgraced cyclist to pay US$100,000 to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as a contribution towards its costs in the CAS arbitration.
The American rider said through his lawyers on Monday: "I am saddened by today's decision. I am looking into my legal options."
Landis was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title after standing atop the podium following the final stage, when he tested positive for synthetic testosterone after the penultimate 17th stage of the race.
The American had fallen back in stage 16 but rallied in stage 17 to reclaim almost eight minutes on his way to a now-disgraced victory moment.
Landis denied any wrongdoing and appealed to the USADA in an open hearing last May. But the USADA panel ruled 2-1 against him, resulting in the two-year ban.
The International Cycling Union stripped Landis of his 2006 crown after that verdict, awarding the title to Spain's Oscar Pereiro. Landis then brought the case to the global panel, attacking the credibility of the French laboratory which handled his doping samples.
In its ruling, the CAS said the laboratory "did not violate the International Standard for Laboratories." It concluded that "the presence of exogenous tesosterone or its precursors of metabolites in Floyd Landis' sample proves that he violated the anti-doping rules of the International Cycling Union."
The Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) later expressed their satisfaction with CAS's ruling.
"WADA is satisfield with CAS's decision," its president John Fahey said in a statement. "This case is another sad example of a sportsman who cheated who persists in denying the facts. I hope all athletes tempted to cheat take this lesson to heart and that it acts as a deterrent."
© AFP 2008