Sun, Sep 24, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Landis planning to seek hearing from a public arbitrator

AFP , LOS ANGELES

Floyd Landis, who won the Tour de France but was later stripped of his title, will seek a public arbitration hearing after learning that his bid to have doping charges dismissed had failed, a spokesman for the embattled US cyclist said on Friday.

A statement issued by Landis spokesman Michael Henson said Landis "received notice that the Anti-Doping Review Board (ADRB) has recommended that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) move forward in the disciplinary process related to Landis' alleged positive drug test of July 20, 2006."

open hearing

"Howard Jacobs, lawyer for Landis, will request an open hearing by the American Arbitration Association to contest potential sanctions against the athlete," Henson said.

Last week, Jacobs sent a letter to USADA asking that the case be dismissed.

Jacobs questioned the quality of the tests carried out on the rider's samples in a French laboratory and claimed that the positive finding on the B sample came from a sample number that was not assigned to the rider.

The American is facing being stripped of his yellow jersey after tests showed abnormal amounts of testosterone in his body after his stunning victory on stage 17 which allowed him to relaunch his bid for the coveted Tour crown.

Landis, putting in an appearance at the final stage of the Tour of Spain in Madrid last Sunday, voiced confidence that he would eventually be cleared.

`irregularities'

"The Tour's doping tests are full of irregularities," he said.

"I'm innocent and I think my lawyers will be able to prove it, though they've had lots of difficulties gathering information," he said.

Henson said Landis' request for an open arbitration hearing will make him the first athlete to take advantage of a 2004 rule that allows athletes facing drugs charges to have their cases heard in public and not behind closed doors.

"Floyd and his legal team really just want this process to be transparent," Henson said. "We want all the governing bodies involved to be examined in a public forum in the way that Landis has been."

fact-based

Henson said last week's motion for dismissal will provide the foundation for an appeal that "uses fact-based science" to support the cyclist's innocence.

The USADA could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday, but the agency has a policy of not commenting on active cases.

In addition to preparing for his appeal, Landis is scheduled for hip replacement surgery on Wednesday.

Landis' doctor, Brent Kay, who is an assistant professor of medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California, said the cyclist will "undergo a state of the art procedure that will maximize his chances of returning to racing at the top level."

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