Nearly two years after he stood triumphantly atop the Tour de France podium in Paris, USA's Floyd Landis has seen his last hopes of regaining the 2006 title dashed when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld his two-year suspension on Monday. The world's highest sporting authority also ruled that the 32 year-old pay $100,000 costs to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), in a case that has already cost both Landis and his opponents several million dollars. Cyclingnews' North American Editor Mark Zalewski takes a closer look at the panel's decision.
While the original arbitration ruling by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) was a split decision, including a clear wag of the finger towards the French national anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) in Paris, this ruling is a clear 3-0 home-run for the US Anti-Doping Agency. All arguments levied by Landis were countered by USADA in the panel's mind, with the panel even going so far as to wag its own finger at the legal strategy used by the Landis side.
The actual appeal process began with a determination of the grounds of the appeal. The USADA lawyers first filed a motion to exclude any new arguments from the case beyond what was presented in the original arbitration, and the CAS agreed. On the Landis side, the CAS ruled against USADA in its attempts to move the start date of his suspension later than January 30, 2007. But it also did not agree with Landis that his September 20, 2006 date, the day he was sacked from his Phonak team, should serve as the start date either.
The CAS requested a list from both sides that would outline the issues of the case. The Landis side provided 17 separate issues, attacking the entire testing procedure of the French laboratory – but essentially asking whether "USADA had established to a comfortable satisfaction that Floyd Landis committed and anti-doping violation".
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