Shorts: Chƒtenay-Malabry lab error?; Contracts

The hack into the Chƒtenay-Malabry computer systems confirmed a lab error, but officials claim it wa

The hack into the Chƒtenay-Malabry computer systems confirmed a lab error, but officials claim it wa

The hacker(s) who broke into the computer of the French national anti-doping laboratory at Chtenay-Malabry (LNDD) has seemingly shown that there was an error in labelling Floyd Landis' positive B sample. The break-in occurred sometime in September, and officials from the IOC, UCI, and ASO, as well as many journalists, were sent copies of actual lab documents. The emails purported to have emanated from the LNDD, but apparently were poor forgeries, containing spelling mistakes and inconsistencies.

The court in Nanterre has opened a preliminary investigation into the hacker, who it's alleged is someone close to Floyd Landis. According to Le Monde, the lab documents showed that Landis' ID number was 995 474, while the positive B sample was labelled 994 474.

The LNDD's director, Jacques de Ceaurriz, told L'Equipe that it was merely an administrative fault. "There is an error in reporting one of the numbers, a typographical error that does not negate the result of the analysis or the integrity of the sample...This has already been rectified and indexed."

This error will be used as part of Landis' defence, his lawyers have said. His advisor Arnie Baker, M.D. has also promised to present an "updated version of the Floyd Landis slide show" on Friday, November 17, at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, AZ. The new version will have "additional scientific arguments supporting Landis' innocence against allegations of doping in the 2006 Tour de France".

The hack obviously exposed the security of the lab's computer systems. This is another point that Landis' legal team will seize upon. "Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the security of documents from this laboratory has been questioned," said Landis' spokesman Michael Henson to Le Monde. Henson strongly denied that the hacker had any ties to Landis.

The lab is now under the wing of the French anti-doping agency (AFLD), instead of the French ministry of sport. The head of the AFLD, Pierre Bordry, noted in his audit of the lab, "I regret to have discovered that the data was not sufficiently secure. I have asked the government for the means to modernise the laboratory."

In other Landis-related news, Oscar Pereiro has said that he will not race the Tour next year if no winner of the 2006 race is declared. Pereiro finished second behind Landis this year, but his placing cannot be confirmed until the Landis case finishes. That is dependent on Landis' doping case hearing in January 2007, but Pereiro is pointing the finger at the UCI and ASO.

"I am still not the winner of the Tour because of a clash between the UCI and the organisers of the Tour, since the French are trying to keep the problem going until the last day of the allegations," Pereiro told AS. "I will not go to the Tour de France if the organisers leave the first place vacant. In that case, I'll ride the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espa¤a."

Contract news

The Tinkoff Security Systems team is rumoured to have signed Tyler Hamilton. Hamilton's name has been linked with the Russian-based pro continental team for several weeks, but neither party has officially confirmed it. Team owner Oleg Tinkov has also offered Francesco Mancebo a two-year deal with _600,000 a season.

Mancebo, who was with AG2R this season, "retired" from cycling after his name was linked to Operaci¢n Puerto. But he has since expressed his desire to return to the peloton. Mancebo still has a contract with Vincent Lavenu's AG2R team, but Lavenu doesn't want Mancebo back. He has claimed that the ProTour's code of ethics prevents him from signing (or keeping) any rider implicated in Puerto. So, Mancebo may be free to look for a new team.

Tinkoff Security Systems has been built from the LPR team. The team is looking for a big-name rider to help it obtain a wildcard in some of the major races next year. It has also offered contracts to Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, although Basso has already signed for Discovery Channel.

Belgian cyclist Ludovic Capelle will return to the peloton in 2007 with Roubaix Lille Mtropole, a French continental team. Capelle is coming off a year and a half suspension for EPO use in a Belgian kermis in 2005. He previously rode for Landbouwkrediet-Colnago.

Fabrizio Guidi is in deep negotiations with Claudio Corti's Barloworld team, and both parties are reportedly close to reaching a deal. The 34 year-old Italian sprinter is looking for a new team after Phonak folded. Barloworld is also talking to Michele Scarponi, ex-Liberty Seguros-Wrth. Mori and Caruso complete Lampre's line-up

Next year's Lampre-Fondital squad will be composed of 25 riders, with the recent signings of Massimiliano Mori and Giampaolo Caruso completing the line-up. These two join the other new signings Francesco Gavazzi (Italian U23 champion), Paolo Bossoni (GP Citt di Castelfidardo winner) and veteran Fabio Baldato. Caruso signed his contract on Tuesday, November 14, at Lampre-Fondital's HQ in Usmate, Italy.

The former Liberty Seguros-Wurth rider has a one year deal and has agreed to make his DNA available for testing, in accordance with the wishes of the ProTeams. The full Lampre-Fondital roster for 2007: Alessandro Ballan, Daniele Bennati, Matteo Bono, Marzio Bruseghin, Giampaolo Caruso, Jaime Alberto Castaneda Ortega (Col), Claudio Corioni, Damiano Cunego, Giuliano Figueras, Paolo Fornaciari, Enrico Franzoi, David Loosli (Swi), Marco Marzano, Massimiliano Mori, Danilo Napolitano, Morris Possoni, Daniele Righi, Gorazd Stangelj (Slo), Sylwester Szmyd (Pol), Paolo Tiralongo, Tadej Valjavec (Slo), Patxi Vila Errandonea (Spa).
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