Landis tries to regain reputation
In the latest attempt that almost certainly will be his last, the anti-doping establishment slapped down the one-time 2006 Tour de France winner once more, ruling Landis didn’t play fair, on the bike or in the hearing room.
A three-person panel at the Court of Arbitration for Sport agreed with a previous anel’s decision, ruling Monday that Landis’ positive doping test at the Tour two years ago was, indeed, valid.
He will not regain the title he won with a stunning comeback in Stage 17, a rally many thought was too good to be true and that turned out to be fueled by synthetic testosterone.
Thus ended Landis’ long, bizarre, very public, multimillion-dollar journey through an arbitration process he claimed is rigged against athletes. As one final insult, CAS also told Landis he must pay $100,000 toward the legal fees of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
“I am saddened by today’s decision,” Landis said in a statement. “I am looking into my legal options and deciding on the best way to proceed.”
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In its 58-page decision, the panel at sports’ highest court said the French lab that analyzed Landis’ positive test results followed international standards, disagreeing with one of Landis’ key accusations.
Much like the arbitration panel that ruled on this case before, CAS conceded the lab used some “less than ideal laboratory practices, but not lies, fraud, forgery or cover-ups,” the way the Landis camp had alleged.
In the end, the panel saved its harshest criticism for the 32-year-old cyclist from Murrieta, Calif.
CAS said his lawyers tried to muddle the evidence and embarrass the French lab, and continued on that course even after the evidence was shown not to exist.
The strategy continued all the way through the closing briefs.