Latest: Landis not optimistic; Van Mol to sue HLN; USADA clears two cyclists

Floyd Landis hopes for a quick resolution in his doping hearing, but is not optimistic about racing

Floyd Landis hopes for a quick resolution in his doping hearing, but is not optimistic about racing
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Landis not optimistic for 2007 start Floyd Landis doesn't believe he will race in 2007, due to the time it will take to finish his doping hearings. Landis told ESPN that he had "pretty much written off this season" although he still hopes to be able to come back and win the Tour de France again. "I want to believe the right thing will happen and we'll get a fair hearing, as long as it takes," said Landis. "The best case scenario would be if it ended in the next few weeks, we had a hearing and it was over, and I could race the Tour this year. But I don't really see that as a possibility." Landis tested positive for a high testosterone:epitestosterone ratio following his ride back into contention in stage 17 of the Tour de France. He faces a hearing in front of the American Arbitration Association in March, and will also have to battle the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) at some stage if he is to completely clear his name. If found guilty by the AAA, he could receive a two year ban and be stripped of his Tour win. The AFLD also has the power to ban him from racing in France and to take away his Tour victory. Van Mol to sue HLN Quick.Step doctor Yvan Van Mol says he will sue Belgian paper Het Laatste Nieuws for defamation, after it accused him of administering growth hormones to riders while working for Mapei. Van Mol believes HLN took the words of an unpublished interview between him and journalist Ivan Sonck in 1995 out of context. In the interview, which Van Mol released to the media this week "because I knew that if I didn't Het Laatste Nieuws would have", he told Sonck that he knew some of his riders were using growth hormones, but denied having anything to do with it. The conversation, as translated by Flemish Regional Television (VRT), is as follows: Ivan Sonck: "Have you ever prescribed banned substances such as growth hormones or EPO?" Yvan Van Mol: "Eh... there was a time that growth hormones were used." Sonck: "Did you do that?" Van Mol: "Is this an interrogation?" Sonck: "No, certainly not. I'm not entitled to interrogate people, but I'm simply doing my job as a journalist." Van Mol: "I've known that it has been used, and I that it still is being used. But I think that the effects of growth hormones have never been proven and they can't be measured or seen." Sonck: "What do you give them at the moment then? EPO?" Van Mol: "Mr Sonck, I am really don't feel the need to - how do I put this - justify myself for other people." Sonck: "No, but..." Van Mol: "I don't mind talking to you, but you can't expect me to tell other people what's happened. Or do you?" Van Mol: "Would you like me to get other people into big trouble?" Sonck: "Eh... if you're not doing anything illegal, you won't have a problem." Van Mol: "I don't do anything that is forbidden. It's as simple as that ." Sonck: "But you have given riders growth hormones in the past?." Van Mol: "I didn't say that. I said that I knew that it was being used." Sonck: "You've never administered them?" Van Mol: "I have never done that." Sonck: "Can you say, for example, what the riders from the Mapei team are getting administered, what you give them?" Van Mol: "Of course I can say that." Sonck: "Are they just vitamins, or are they also illegal products?" Van Mol: "They are not just vitamins, but there are no prohibited products." Sonck: "All the stories about you that are going around, do you dismiss them as rubbish?" Van Mol: "I dismiss them as rubbish, yes." HLN wrote, "In the telephone conversation, there was a definite admission of guilt. It shows that Van Mol lied when he maintained that he had never seen doping practices in his team. Van Mol is now trying to save face, but is totally stuck." Van Mol strongly objected to this slant, and will now sue the paper. The journalist who made the recording, Ivan Sonck, said that he supplied it to HLN journalist Maarten Michielssens as background information only, "Because I wanted to keep my conversation with Van Mol confidential. "I was surprised when Michielssens said in De zevende dag on Sunday that he had firm proof against Van Mol," said Sonck. "He referred to that recording, part of which he apparently wanted to air. Maarten Michielssens knew that he wasn't allowed to use it. I can confirm that, because there were emails about it. The newspaper broke our agreement." USADA clears two cyclists after no-shows USA Cycling (USAC) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) have cleared two riders of doping violations. Cale Redpath (Durango, Colo.) and Alice Pennington (Hood River, Ore.) both missed drug tests during 2006. But both were selected as reserve riders, and did not expect to be called up for dope control. They were suspended for a year each, but USADA and USAC found that the UCI regulation (Article 122 of the anti-doping rules) had been applied too strictly, and the bans have now been dropped. In USADA's decision to set aside the sanctions of Redpath and Pennington, it cited a "fair and appropriate application of Article 122" (of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules) in light of USADA's investigation regarding reserve riders that are subject to a no-show violation only in the event they would have actually been tested. In both cases, the athlete would not otherwise have been tested as a reserve since both the automatic selections and the randoms were available for testing." "USA Cycling maintains a zero-tolerance policy and remains fully committed to the fight against doping," said Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. "Toward that end, we continue to work closely with both the UCI and USADA to combat the use of performance-enhancing drugs and methods in the sport of cycling. Respecting this policy, we also believe that it is imperative to preserve and protect the rights of all athletes in this fight and we are pleased that through open communication with USADA and the UCI, we have been able to better harmonize our national and international policies and procedures. We applaud the efforts of USADA for pursuing fairness and equity surrounding these no-show situations." USAC reminded riders that it is their own responsibility to find out whether they have been selected for doping control, regardless of whether they had even finished a race. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
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