VeloNews reports that Landis has been summoned to appear before a French doping panel:
In an usual step, Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has been summoned to appear before the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) on February 8, the organization's president Pierre Bordry told AFP on Friday.
The AFLD has no power to suspend Landis, but it does have the authority to prevent him from participating in events on French soil, including the world's biggest bicycle race. Only USA Cycling and the UCI have the authority to ban Landis from the sport. USA Cycling has handed off its power to adjudicate doping cases to the U.S. Anti-doping Agency. If USADA determines that Landis is guilty of an infraction, the UCI would then automatically strip him of the Tour title.
Which reads funny -- did they mean "an unusual step"? Aside from that, the article says little about the French process, of which we've heard nothing before. Is this a full hearing? Is Landis expected to produce a full defense on three weeks notice? Is this a side-effect of delay of the enpanelling of the AAA arbitrators?
It may be the appearance will devolve to a motion to consolidate with the AAA case that needs to be granted pro-forma by treaty obligation, but Correspondent Marc doesn't think so, based on his reading of this Le Monde article which he translates for us:
AP report is carried by ESPN, SI and IHT; also covered in CyclingNews and Eurosport.
Jan. 12, 2007
Floyd Landis is summoned by the French anti-dopin agency
by Stéphane Mandard
The winner of the Tour de France, Floyd Landis, who tested positive for testosterone July 20, 2006, after the 17th stage, may soon have his fate determined.
According to our sources, the American has been summoned to appear in front of the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) on Thursday, Feb. 8. The AFLD has begun a disciplinary procedure against him. The rider faces a possible two-year suspension, as well as subsequently being stripped of his TdF victory. The verdict could be delivered as early as Feb. 8, and would have as its immediate consequence prohibiting the American from being at the starting line of the 2007 edition of the Grande Boucle.
Landis' summons was sent to him Thursday, Jan. 11, by the president of the Agency, Pierre Bordry. Originally, the chief of French anti-doping activities had planned to summon the rider for Thursday, Jan. 25. At the request of his lawyers, who wanted more time to prepare their client's defense, M. Bordry agreed to allow two additional weeks.
Landis' attorney, Howard Jacobs--who also represents American sprinter Marion Jones--is proposing the argument that his client has been the victim of "gross errors" by the national doping detection laboratory (LNDD) at Châtenay-Malabry. If an "error" could have been committed by the lab, it is simply of an administrative nature and would not undermine the validity of the test result: in a summary report, the B sample of the rider's urine had been assigned an incorrect ID number because of a typing mistake.
The target of a disciplinary procedure in the United States, Floyd Landis should be heard by the American anti-doping agerncy (Usada), according to our sources, at the end of February.
"The best scenario would be that everything gets finished in the next few weeks, after my hearing, and that I can race in this year’s Tour. But I don’t much believe that will happen," Landis declared Thursday to Reuters. His spokesman, Michael Henson, had announced on Jan. 5 that the rider was trying to raise $2 million from supporters to pay for his defense.
Various speculators are wondering if AFLP is conspiring with USADA/WADA to get Landis to tip his hand about his defense case by making him present it more than once.
Marc also finds an AFP report (no URL) which suggests more going on, with Bordry fighting for turf and AFLDs prerogatives:
The 2006 edition of the TdF hasn't finished with its doping problems. While waiting for the conclusion of the Floyd Landis case, the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) will examine, at the end of January, the case of 12 cyclists who tested positive during the last TdF but benefited from an Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
This practice has multiplied in recent years, to the point of raising some suspicion. Pierre Bordry, the head of AFLD, has confirmed that certain test results warrant a deeper examination. "There are a certain number of important persons in the TdF who have tested positive, some of them several times, but who have a TUE. It isn't enough to have an administrative document issued by an international federation. We would like to know if it corresponds to a specific treatment."
In practice, AFLD doctors will check whether the authorization corresponds to the quantity of the product measured in the positive test, and to a real condition being treated. In September, AFLD wrote to 13 riders and to the UCI in order to get the supporting statements for the TUEs. "Some are missing," M. Bordry notes. During the last TdF, 60% of the 105 riders who were tested--in all some 180 samples--had registered a TUE. Of the 105, 13 had positive test results, some several times, since 16 samples turned out positive.
At Cyclingnews the Friday Mailbag is open, the reviews are in, and Dick Pound is the topic de jour. From Alex Ward:
Between Dick Pound warning the virgins of France to lock their doors when Floyd Landis and his inflated testicles ride through town ("Pound casts doubt on Landis: Tour winner hits back") and Pat McQuaid issuing a war cry for Ethelred the Unready and all other able-bodied Anglo-Saxons to spring to the defense of the sport ("McQuaid starts cultural polemic"), cycling suddenly has taken a dramatic turn from the tragic to the absurd.
I can't tell anymore whether I'm reading a real Cyclingnews report or a Monty Python parody. As entertaining as these guys are, this is not exactly the way to restore cycling's reputation. Let's give these two their own sitcom and find some less buffoonish characters to govern our beloved, dysfunctional sport.
WETA Washington has a sympathetic audio interview with Landis from Arlington. He maintains innocence, is focused on the case and WADA/USADA. He doubts he's going to watch the tour this year. Wants to go back, had the most wonderful time of his life this year -- until it wasn't.
epiojo.org apologizes to Landis for past disbelief and gives some direction about what he should do with WADA and USADA.
Rant thinks "somethin's happenin' here", and what it is may be all too clear, since he called it earlier in the week.
Blaine Moore at Run to Win notes that Landis wants another Tour de France win, but whether he stands a chance at getting it may be another story.
Pelotonjim comments on a blurb in Bicycling Magazine about the Landis vs Pound saga.