"This case is a further sad example of an athlete who cheated but persisted in denying," said John Fahey, "I hope that athletes who may be tempted to cheat will take this lesson to heart and that this case will serve as a strong deterrent." The president of the World Antodoping Agency was obviously pleaed with the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to uphold the doping charges against Floyd Landis. As a result of the ruling by the three CAS arbitrators -- lawyers from New York, Paris, and Auckland, New Zealand --- the American cyclist remains stripped of his title as the Tour de France winner 2006.
The decision by the highest sports tribunal makes it official: Floyd Landis’ sensational ride in the 17^th stage which allowed him to win the race was achieved with the forbidden help of synthetic testosterone. Landis had spent 3 million dollars trying to whitewash himself, all in vain. On top of this Landis will have to pay $100,000 toward the legal fees of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, as a penalty for his aggressive defense, which was deemed a”frontal attack on the entire anti-doping system”. Landis' attorneys had charged that the French lab LNDD, (which detected the testosterone in the rider’s urine) had falsified documents, fabricated records and deleted important analytical data to support its findings. The CAS-arbitrators admitted that there were “some minor procedural imperfections”, but found "no evidence at all to sustain any of these serious allegations."
Travis Tygart, head of the US-Anti-Doping-Agency called upon Landis to admit to doping. "Maybe with finally being held accountable he might finally realise that the best thing for him to do is acknowledge his mistake to dope and try to come clean." It can be assumed that 90 if not 99% of all commentators and fans would agree with Tygart and urge the American rider to make a clean breast of it. Case closed. Or is it?
Floyd Landis has not intention of admitting any doping offence and maintains that he won the Tour de France fair and square. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times he said: "I refuse to accept that the world works this way. I don't buy it.”
There are a few other people who “don’t buy it.” Amongst them there some very reputable scientists who specialise in doping analysis and in the effects of testosterone on the human body. After the ruling was released Dr Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, Senior Lecturer in Stable Isotope Forensics at Queen’s University in Belfast, restated his view that the work of the French lab LNDD had been “attrociously bad.” He deems the CAS-ruling “a tragedy for the sports community and a travesty of science and justice” and sees it as “a victory of corporate ego and politics over justice.” Meier-Augenstein is so seriously disappointed with the unprofessional sloppy work of the LNDD that he plans to dedicate a whole chapter of his forthcoming textbook „Forensic Stable Isotope Analysis“ to the Landis case – under the heading “how not to do it”.
Not only science took a beating on Monday when the CAS-ruling was published but also the law. Bill Hue, a Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge, who has followed the Landis case closely from the beginning, speaks of a “sad day for justice” and has vowed to “deconstruct the fable that was Landis’ anti-doping prosecution”, For Bill Hue Floyd Landis remains a hero:
“ Floyd is not my hero because he is an American or because he won the Tour de France. Greg LeMond and/or Lance Armstrong are not my heroes and they won many more tours than Floyd has. Floyd is not my hero because of his epic ride on Stage 17 of the 2006 race. Without demeaning that ride, others in cycling have had similar epic single day rides throughout the years. Floyd is my hero because in the face of the biggest travesties of “justice” I have ever seen, he stood proud, determined, true to himself and his family and did not bow to those who define “the game” by making its rules, prosecuting those deemed to violate those rules and then stack the deck with those responsible to judge those “violations”.
The Anti-doping-establishment believes that it has won and that the Landis case will be conveniently forgotten. Cyclists and those that govern the sport may have been silenced, but it will be harder to shut up the /bona fide/ scientists and legal scholars, who are outraged by the treatment dished out to Landis and the mockery that the procedure made of scientists’ quest for the truth. The case is definitely not closed.