Correspondent Marc sends the following bits of coverage in France.
5:42 p.m. Cycling
Landis: "A Parody of Justice"
After new analyses--whose results were leaked this Monday--revealed the presence of synthetic testosterone in his urine, Floyd Landis reacted strongly in his defense
"This is the latest in a series of malevolent actions by the USADA, which have undermined my right to having my case treated in a equitable and just manner. . . . I am torn up by the behavior of the USADA and the LNDD. Together, they have transformed this process into an attack on my civil rights and a parody of justice," Floyd Landis stated in a press release published on his official site.
This site, at least, seems to be giving FL a shot at a pretty unbiassed defense. Oops. I spoke too soon. Sport24 has a new, longer, snarky article:
[A photo of FL was captioned: The vise is closing on Floyd Landis]Landis caught in the trap
According to l'Equipe, the retroactive analyses of seven Floyd Landis specimens clearly show the presence of exogenous testosterone. The American is facing a two-year suspension.
By Florian Egly
This time, Floyd Landis will not be able to hide behind a supposed exceptionally elevated natural testosterone production, nor steal away by denouncing the supposed incompetence of the laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry (LNDD). These two lines of defense put forward by the American racer since his positive test result during the Tour de France have fallen flat. According to a report in l'Equipe, seven specimens belonging to the former Yellow Jersey and preserved since the 2006 Grande Booucle have revealed the presence of exogenous testosterone, during retroactive analyses performed this last week by the LNDD. The new tests--based on the more reliable new IRMS technique (which can distinguish the level of endogenous testosterone from that due to external sources)--had been requested by the USADA, which is in charge of the Landis case. Two experts from the agency, along with two of the rider’s representatives, witnessed these analyses, which thus rebuts the argument of any so-called manipulation on the part of the French laboratory.
This is no big surprise. The revelations only confirm the American’s positive test the evening of his “fantastic” gallop to Morzine, July 20, which itself had been confirmed after analysis of that test's B sample several weeks later. Up until now, though, Landis had been able to get out of it by several maneuvres, using every recourse available, and benefiting especially from two procedural blunders by the lab at Châtenay-Malabry: a labeling error in the summary of the confirming test, and the presence of two technicians on the testing of both the A and B samples, which is prohibited by rule. Summoned by the AFLD last February, the former Phonak leader negociated a postponement by accepting not to be at the start of the 2007 Tour de France. This allowed him to confront the USADA, which he considered more competent, first. Before meeting with Floyd Landis on next May 14, the USADA took the unprecedented step at the end of March of requiring retroactive analyses of the specimens which had tested negative at the time they were taken, the method of analysis used not being as precise. It is these specimens that indeed seem to be
positive for testosterone.
Landis cries foul
Obviously, the man who is today still the winner of the 2006 Tour de France did not waste time before reacting, once again denouncing a conspiracy. The American notably reproaches the USADA for having denied one of his consultants access to the LNDD. "How can I prove my innocence when the UDADA won’t stop violating its own rules? I am torn up by the behavior of the USADA and the LNDD. Together, they have transformed this process into an attack on my civil rights and a parody of justice," he asserts in a press release published on his internet site. The ball is now in the USADA’s court, the only agency authorized to sanction Floyd Landis. Summoned by the USADA for May 14, he risks a suspension of two years and could be the first winner in the history of the Tour de France to be stripped of his title.
The Belgian online newspaper "7 Sur 7" mainly goes with the l'Equipe story, but adds these two paragraphs:
Pierre Bordry, president of the AFLD, confirmed that the analyses (begun April 16 art the LNDD at Châtenay-Malabry, near Paris) were completed, but that their result was not known. The cyclist’s seven specimens--marked only with a number as is the custom--were analyzed at the same time as other anonymous specimens, and were therefore not identifiable, M. Bordry explained. (His agency must now transmit its report to the USADA.) According to the internet site of the French sports newspaper [l'Equipe], the analyses revealed on several occasions the presence of exogenous testosterone in the B samples.
The USADA, mired in an interminable process with Landis (who tested positive for testosterone at the 17th stage of the 2006 Tour de France, which he won), took an unprecedented step at the end of March: to have tested retrospectively, by mass spectometry (IRMS), specimens whose A samples were negative for the T/E ratio, using a less precise method. Landis, who has based his defense on the presumed incompetence of LNDD, was represented by two witnesses at the tests at Châtenay-Malabry this week, just as the USADA was, which sent two experts. The winner--so far--of the 2006 Tour de France is summoned by the USADA for May 14. He risks a two-year suspension.
Le Monde picked up L'Equipe; Figaro picked up Sport24 long article.