Pound backs lab
World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound says he has complete confidence in the French laboratory that handled the drug tests on Tour de France champion Floyd Landis despite lapses in security and procedure.
The French anti-doping laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry, on the outskirts of Paris, has come under intense scrutiny after its computer system was breached and French daily Le Monde reported that a clerical error was made in the handling of Landis's samples.
According to the report, the lab made an administrative error, labelling Landis's B sample with the wrong number.
Pound downplayed the mistake, saying it did not compromise the results and adding that he was more concerned about hackers' ability to obtain confidential test results and information.
"For me, the big problem is the activities of hackers who entered into the system without permission, possibly against the law," Pound said.
"The code contemplates minor errors that don't affect the validity of analysis. Ideally, you don't want there to be any kind of errors, administrative or otherwise that may get corrected in the process.
"We just have to wait and see. It's kind of an unusual situation whereby it's entirely possibly a lot of this information has been illegally obtained."
French Sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour has also defended the laboratory.
He said: "The laboratory of Chatenay-Malabry remains one of the most efficient. The World Anti-Doping Agency regularly sends blind tests to other laboratories to monitor the quality of the job done here.
"It was only a typing error made in the analysis report. Two figures were transposed.
"When such a mistake is made, everything is governed by transparency and all the parties involved are immediately notified.
"We must remain calm and keep our feet on the ground. The hacking is regrettable but it's one of those things that occur when you've got a difficult fight on your hands."
Landis denies taking performance-enhancing drugs and has accused the French laboratory of making numerous mistakes, breaking anonymity rules and mislabelling his samples.
The American cyclist will make his case during a hearing by the American Arbitration Association early next year.