Sun, Nov 19, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Doctor for Floyd Landis expands drug-test defense

AP , TUCSON

A retired doctor and friend of Floyd Landis is expanding his defense of the cyclist, contending that a detailed analysis of documents shows the Tour de France champion did not have a positive drug test after all.

Arnie Baker made the case in a slide show presentation on Friday evening at the Tucson Convention Center, headquarters of the El Tour de Tucson race that was scheduled for yesterday.

Landis' agent Michael Henson said the cyclist was in Tucson to be the official starter for the race, but that he would not talk to reporters.

Landis, who denies doping, is contesting findings that showed two urine samples had elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels during the Tour de France in July.

"There is no basis for a positive test in the first place," Baker said. "How it got this far in the first place, I have no idea. But I've looked at the test, and to me, it's appalling."

Speaking to an audience of about 100, most of them cyclists, Baker took several swipes at the French laboratory that analyzed Landis' urine samples. Displaying documents obtained from the US Anti-Doping Agency by Landis' attorney Howard Jacobs, Baker said both urine samples, not just the backup "B" sample, were misidentified at various times during the lab's handling.

Earlier this week, World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound defended the French lab in a conference call, saying the case against the US cyclist should not be derailed by a mistake in the labeling of his backup urine specimen.

Travis Tygart, general counsel for USADA, did not return messages left on Friday night.

Baker said he has known Landis since 1997, when the cyclist took part in the Tucson event, his first pro race, as a tandem partner on Baker's team. The team won the race.

Baker, from San Diego, Calif., is retired from medical practice and is a full-time cycling coach.

He said he offered to take a look at the case after talking with Landis at the funeral for the cyclist's father-in-law.

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