Floyd Landis' Tour de France stage 17 B sample was opened on Thursday at the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory in France in the presence of landis' Spanish legal counsel Jose Maria Buxeda, experts from the US Anti-Doping Agency, and the UCI. Landis himself was not present and is at home in California, contrary to our earlier incorrect report. Analysis of the sample is expected to take two days, and Landis should know on Saturday whether his high testosterone:epitestosterone level is confirmed.
"We continue to maintain the same line of defence: the positive must be due to an endogenous production of testosterone, and in addition we understand that the detection method is not trustworthy in proving whether the origin is exogenous," said Luis Sanz, who, along with Buxeda and Howard Jacobs, forms part of Landis' legal defence.
According to an AP report, the Landis' legal camp has also proposed that dehydration may have led to the high T:E ratio. "Maybe a combination of dehydration, maximum effort," Buxeda was quoted as saying.
But Professor Christiane Ayotte, director of Montreal's anti-doping laboratory, poured cold water on that theory. "If dehydration was the case, then marathon runners would be testing positive all the time. Tennis players would be testing positive all the time. Dehydration is a medical condition that requires hospitalisation. It has been invoked in the past, but not one case - to my knowledge - has been successful in this argument."
Nevertheless, Landis continues to maintain his innocence and denies having taken any banned substances. "It would be a true legal aberration to strip him of his victory in the 2006 Tour de France, even if the result is confirmed," said Sanz to EFE. "Once the results are known, the process will continue through the American authorities, and while there is no firm sanction, Landis is innocent."
Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón
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