Imago

Landis guilty, Pereiro champion

Landis guilty, Pereiro champion
By Reuters

20/09/2007 at 20:03Updated

Floyd Landis, who tested positive for the banned male sex hormone testosterone during his 2006 Tour de France triumph, has been found guilty of doping by a US arbitration panel.

He has been found guilty. It proves that the system works no matter who you are," Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union said.

Landis, who is set to become the first Tour de France winner to be stripped of the title, said in a statement: "This ruling is a blow to athletes and cyclists everywhere.

"For the Panel to find in favour of USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) when, with respect to so many issues, USADA did not manage to prove even the most basic parts of their case shows that this system is fundamentally flawed. I am innocent, and we proved I am innocent," the 31-year-old added.

McQuaid said Oscar Pereiro, who finished second to Landis in 2006, would be the winner of the race -- the first Spaniard to succeed since Miguel Indurain's last victory in 1995.

"Under our regulations, Oscar Pereiro will be declared the winner of the 2006 Tour de France," said McQuaid.

Three arbitration experts decided Landis had injected himself with testosterone after lengthy deliberations following a USADA hearing in May.

Landis now faces a two-year ban from the sport.

However, the American can still take the matter before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Maurice Suh, Landis's lawyer, said in a statement: "The majority Panel's decision is a disappointment, but particularly so because it failed to address the joint impact of the many errors that the laboratory committed in rendering this false positive.

"To take each of these errors singly, is to ignore the total falsity of the result.

"The majority panel has disregarded the testimony of Mr. Landis' experts, who are pre-eminent in their respective fields, without analysing the impact of the errors on the final result.

"This is a miscarriage of justice."

Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive officer, welcomed the verdict in a telephone interview with Reuters from his Colorado Springs office.

"This is another sad example of the crisis of character plaguing some of today's athletes, which undermines the honest accomplishments of the overwhelming majority of athletes who compete with integrity.

"But justice prevails and justice has been served."

Landis tested positive for elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels after his victory on stage 17 of last year's Tour. Testosterone can speed up recovery after exercise and generally improves stamina and strength.

He tested positive after an astounding comeback in the final mountain stage. It came a day after a poor performance which all but knocked him out of contention.

0
0