Scientists express Landis test doubts

Scientists express Landis test doubts
By Eurosport

22/05/2007 at 11:44Updated

Two scientists have expressed doubts over Tour de France winner Floyd Landis' doping results at his public hearing in Malibu, California.

Landis, fighting to keep his 2006 Tour title after testing positive for elevated testosterone to epitestosterone (TE) levels, sat patiently as the scientists testified on his behalf.

With their evidence taking up much of the seventh day of the hearing at Pepperdine University, lead arbitrator Patrice Brunet said Landis would take the stand for a second time on Tuesday, when US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) lawyers will have a chance to cross-examine him.

American John Amory, a medical doctor and professor at the University of Washington, expressed doubt over Landis's test results while speaking at length about TE ratios.

"I do not consider those results to be consistent with the use of testosterone gel over a period of time," he testified. "Based on my review of the literature, testosterone does not have a benefit of recovery."

Lawyers representing USADA claim small doses of testosterone, applied in gel form over a period of time, can help cyclists evade doping detection in multi-stage events.

Amory said documented studies did not support any benefits through micro-dosing.

"It would be very useful for a sprinter or a weightlifter but there is no evidence that it would be helpful for endurance sports," he added.

The Landis camp also gained ground earlier in the day with testimony from Wolfram Meier-Augenstein, a German professor in stable isotope forensics at Queen's University, Belfast.

Meier-Augenstein said he had no confidence in some of the data produced by the French laboratory outside Paris that analysed the Tour de France champion's urine samples.

After looking at chromatography done on the Landis 'B' sample from Stage 17 of last year's Tour, he said: "This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

"Even cheaters have a right to a fair hearing and to have data used against them which are sound and can proven."

At his hearing three arbitration experts will determine whether Landis injected himself with testosterone.

If found guilty of doping he faces a two-year suspension and the possibility of becoming the first Tour winner to be stripped of his title.

However, the 31-year-old American could take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Malibu hearing ends on Wednesday when lawyers on both sides will present closing arguments.