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In the apparent absence of a request from Floyd Landis for his B sample taken after stage 17 of the Tour de France to be tested, the International Cycling Union asked on Monday evening for the test to be carried out. "We have done this so the whole thing can be speeded up," a UCI spokesperson said. "We took this decision because of the importance of the case. Also the longer it goes on the more damage the sport risks suffering."
However, it seems that what initially looked like a significant oversight on Landis's part is nothing more than a misunderstanding or the erratic functioning of a fax machine. According to the American's spokesman, Michael Henson, "Floyd did request the B sample test. He faxed a request to his lawyers in Spain at 12:45 eastern time (on Monday), which is well within the five-day limit required of the athlete."
Landis could have waited until Wednesday to make a request for a counter-analysis to be carried out, but this would have meant a significant delay in the results being delivered as the French lab shuts for a number of weeks at the end of this week.
Whoever made the request, Landis's B sample is now expected to be analysed at the Chatenay Malabry lab near Paris at some point between Thursday and Saturday morning. Landis has said that he expects the second sample to return a similar result positive result for testosterone, but insists he is innocent. "I'd like to make it absolutely clear that I'm not in any doping process," he said at a press conference in Madrid last Friday.
He added that he would show the levels "are absolutely natural and produced by my own organism", but this statement is contradicted by a report on the New York Times' website quoting an unidentified UCI official as saying the testosterone that showed up in Landis's A sample is from an external (exogenous) source. According to the source, the carbon isotope test on Landis's showed the presence of synthetic testosterone.
The paper added that the official had told them Landis's testosterone level was more than twice the permitted four-to-one ratio. Contacted by the paper, Landis's personal doctor, Brent Kay, acknowledged the American's test showed a ratio of 11-to-one, but added this could be due to natural causes, bacterial contamination, alcohol consumption before the test or contamination of the specimen during testing.
Sticking with the doping theme, the Spanish Guardia Civil's Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation is reported to have taken another turn. According to Spanish daily El Pais, they are now collaborating with their German colleagues having identified a German doctor suspected of supplying undetectable EPO to clients in Spain, allegedly including the doctor at the centre of the investigation, Eufemiano Fuentes.
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