By Anthony Tan
Responding to today's announcement from the UCI that confirmed the "adverse analytical finding" of Thursday, July 27, four days after Floyd Landis won the 2006 Tour de France, the American's legal counsel has been swift to issue a statement in his defence.
Landis's attorney, Howard Jacobs, has indicated his team will not only challenge the result, which revealed a high testosterone:epitestosterone ratio after Stage 17 of the Tour de France, but also the alleged lack of protocol followed by the UCI - namely, the premature announcement of the A sample finding, and the anonymous UCI source, who confirmed the presence of exogenous testosterone via the Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry test (IRMS) to the New York Times.
However, one thing remains unclear: will Floyd Landis and his legal counsel be basing their primary defence on the reliability of the carbon-isotope test, or can they prove that the 2006 Tour winner did not have exogenous testosterone in his urine the day he was tested positive?
When Cyclingnews posed the question to Michael Henson over the telephone today, who is acting as Landis' spokesperson and communications counsel, he replied: "I can't really comment on pending ligitation, but I can say that Floyd and his attorney are preparing their defence."
Henson also indicated his camp are yet to receive the official results: "We were following the news, just as you have," he said. "To my knowledge, we have received no official notification, no official results from the UCI or WADA, so we're assuming that just as [done] on the A sample, the T:E ratio was tested and the carbon-isotope test was done. By at at this stage, as of now, I don't have any official results sitting in front of me."
Asked when Jacobs et al. will begin their defence, Henson said it will be around two to three weeks, but the entire legal proceeding could take at least six months before it's complete.
"I believe there is a timeline that this follows, and I believe in the next three weeks, USADA will be doing its facts-finding, and during that time, Floyd and his lawyer, Howard Jacobs, are going to be preparing their defence to go in front of a review panel.
"I don't think he was hoping, I think he's very realistic," said Henson on Landis' expectations that the B sample would return a false-positive result.
"He was realistic throughout. There's always a glimmer of hope in an athlete who's innocent and wants to be vindicated, rather than go through a process that will involve six months - at the very least - of legal procedures," he said.
The full statement can be read below:
Los Angeles, August 5, 2006 The UCI (International Cycling Union) today announced that the results of the 'B' analysis conducted on Floyd Landis's urine sample of July 20, 2006 are consistent with the findings of the 'A' sample. Both samples were taken following Landis's victory in stage 17 of the Tour de France. The results of the 'A' sample were released on July 26. Landis will pursue the appeal procedures established by the UCI in order to overturn the laboratory results. It is expected that the matter will now be referred to USA Cycling.
Landis, who has not used performance-enhancing substances, maintains his innocence in this case and believes that he will be vindicated of the doping charges.
'I have never taken any banned substance, including testosterone. I was the strongest man in the Tour de France, and that is why I am the champion,' said Landis. 'I will fight these charges with the same determination and intensity that I bring to my training and racing. It is now my goal to clear my name and restore what I worked so hard to achieve.'
Landis's attorney, Howard Jacobs, has begun preparing the case for arbitration. If the case follows the normal protocol, it is expected to be resolved within four to six months.
'At this point in time, I am waiting to receive the full laboratory documentation for the 'B' test. In consultation with some of the leading medical and scientific experts, we will prove that Floyd Landis's victory in the 2006 Tour de France was not aided in any respect by the use of any banned substances,' said Jacobs.
Landis and Jacobs will also argue against the UCI's premature release of the 'A' sample findings as well as the anonymous leak of the carbon-isotope test results to the New York Times on July 31.
'I call on the UCI to start following its own rules and to allow this process to proceed without the further taint of public comment by UCI officials,' added Jacobs. 'The anti-doping process must be free from the perception that sports federations and anti-doping authorities, who hold great political and financial sway over sport, are attempting to influence the outcome of a pending case by issuing inappropriate public comments.'
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