By Hedwig Kröner
French police are currently investigating a possible violation of the central e-mail server of the Châtenay-Malabry anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) close to Paris. On Tuesday, November 7, an official complaint has been filed by the president of the French anti-doping agency, Pierre Bordry.
Several e-mails, disguised as coming form the LNDD, were sent to sports institutions UCI, IOC, WADA amongst other recipients, questioning the responsibility of the laboratory with regards to the Floyd Landis doping case during the Tour de France. Attached to these e-mails were excerpts of internal documents concerning rectifications that had been made during previous testing process, but taken out of context. However, the messages were written in poor French with apparently typical English-speaking errors, and lacked the signature of its director, Jacques de Ceaurritz. Moreover, the official logo of the laboratory had been badly re-created, including an error in the spelling of 'Châtenay-Malabry'.
"I received an e-mail signed by a certain Norman Crépin," Christine Ayotte, director of the WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratory in Montreal, Canada, told L'Equipe. "The message said that the French lab was a specialist in repetitive errors in his anti-doping analysis. ... The form was suspect; e-mails coming from Châtenay-Malabry not signed by Jacques De Ceaurritz... I was circumspect."
A staff member of the laboratory corresponds to the surname 'Crépin', but he would have nothing to do with this affair. According to L'Equipe, a person with close ties to Floyd Landis has been identified as the author of the e-mails by French investigators.
"Before, these kind of strategies occurred within North America," said Ayotte, who deplored a number of manoeuvres trying to destabilize WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratories. "Now, personal attacks of this kind increase. With the Armstrong affair, the Landis file, the LNDD has had its share. It's a shame."
Police investigations meanwhile continue, as the information on the lab server is regarded as highly sensitive, and includes the alleged doping files of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, as well as his 2006 successor, Floyd Landis. The LNDD has had their credibility questioned in the past with problems of poor security, with testing results of both Landis and Armstrong were leaked.
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied