Landis hires Jacobs for doping defence

By Tim Maloney, European Editor Floyd Landis has hired Southern California based attorney Howard L....

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Floyd Landis has hired Southern California based attorney Howard L. Jacobs, who has extensive experience defending athletes accused of doping such as Tyler Hamilton and sprinter Tim Montgomery. Jacobs told the New York Times Wednesday that "Floyd wants to be ready to defend himself, in case the B sample comes back positive."

Jacobs, a former professional triathlete came out swinging against the UCI for leaking the results of the Tour de France winner's positive 'A' sample drug test, saying it breached the UCI's own protocols for notification. "I am troubled by the actions of the UCI and how they have spoken out about this case, which is in direct contravention of the UCI's own rules and the World Anti-Doping Code. While there has been much speculation and reporting as to the cause of the 'A' positive, the fact remains that the 'B' sample has not been tested," Jacobs said in a statement.

On July 26, the UCI sent a communiqué revealing that one unidentified cyclist had tested positive at the Tour de France, but it refused to release the name until the backup sample had been tested. Landis suddenly disappeared from a post-Tour criterium in Holland and on July 27, it was Landis' Phonak team that announced Landis had tested positive after stage 17. "The (Phonak) team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result," said the team in a statement a week ago. "(Landis) will ask in the upcoming days for the counter analysis to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake in the confirmation. In application of the Pro Tour Ethical Code, the rider will not race anymore until this problem is totally clear. If the result of the B sample analysis confirms the result of the A sample, the rider will be dismissed and will then pass the corresponding endocrinological examinations."

Jacobs added the UCI should have known the rider's name would have come out, once the announcement of a positive test was made "due to the confidentiality breaches that have been previously noted by many at the French laboratory" where the testing took place. UCI president McQuaid confirmed Jacobs's point in an interview with VeloNews on July 27, saying "(The UCI) know that the French laboratory [where the testing was done] has a close connection with L'Équipe, and we did not want this news to come through the press, because we are sure (the French lab) would have leaked it."

Jacobs also cited a New York Times story that said a carbon isotope ratio (CIR) test had detected synthetic testosterone in Landis' system and said the report came from inside the UCI. "This (leak) raises even more concerns, particularly following the provisional suspension earlier this year of a high-ranking UCI official for leaking documents and/or information to the French newspaper, L'Equipe", Jacobs declared, referring to UCI anti-doping head Dr. Mario Zorzoli, who gave a rare on-the-record interview to the NY Times on July 29.

Regarding the supposed positive result of Landis for exogenous testosterone via a CIR test, Brent Kay, Landis' doctor did confirm the finding to the NY Times, but Jacobs was adamant when he told the AP "Let's be clear, the UCI are the ones who said the CIR test was positive." And Jacobs stated that he had seen no proof of the positive CIR test. "While there is an allegation that the CIR is positive, the UCI do not provide any documentation that backs that up. To say I agree with that conclusion, I can't do that, because I haven't seen the documents." Once the results of Landis' 'B' sample come back, if they are positive, these will sent to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado Springs, CO, which would then begin a disciplinary procedure against Landis, one that Jacobs is sure to be involved in to defend the American Tour de France winner.

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