By Susan Westemeyer and Hedwig Kröner
Floyd Landis has agreed not to ride the Tour de France this year, and the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) has agreed to delay their disciplinary hearing against him, which had been scheduled for today.
"Mr. Landis has asked the AFLD, in a letter read by his lawyer during the hearing, to have the possibility to first defend himself in front of the American disciplinary body (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency)," the AFLD said in a statement.
"He says in this very letter that he promises not to take part in any race in France until the end of 2007, in particular in the 2007 Tour de France.
"The AFLD subsequently decided to postpone the examination of his case to a date that will be set according to the course of the procedure before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency."
Landis said in his letter, "Let me assure you that I fully share the goal of preventing illegal doping...", while asking that the French case be postponed "In this case, and in order to avoid any misunderstanding, I agree voluntarily not to participate in any professional or amateur cycling event in France until December 31, 2007, and in particular the Tour de France 2007."
Meanwhile, French newspaper L'Equipe reported on Thursday that Landis refuses to let the American Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) carry out IRMS (detection of exogenous testosterone) tests on the remaining B samples that were taken from the rider at the Tour de France last year. Landis submitted urine samples six times during the 2006 Grand Tour, of which five came back negative for an elevated testosterone/epitestosterone ratio and were thus shelved. Now, the USADA asked Landis to approve the IRMS testing of these five B samples, which could be an important factor in the hearing in front of the Arbitration Commission currently scheduled for May 14, 2007.
"The World Anti-Doping Code allows additional analysis on B samples only [as the A samples have already been used - ed.] when there is a need for it in the procedure," said WADA legal director Olivier Niggli. Although the testosterone/epitestosterone ratios found in the A samples of the rider all were below 4 and thus considered normal, any use of exogenous testosterone could only be proved - or proved wrong - using the IRMS testing method.
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