August 4, 2006

Landis will learn fate on Saturday

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Tour de France winner Floyd Landis of the
United States will learn at 0900 GMT on Saturday whether a test
on his B sample confirms a positive test for the male sex
hormone testosterone.

"We will release a statement tomorrow," an International
Cycling Union (ICU) spokesman said on Friday.

The sample has been opened on Thursday at the Laboratoire
National de Depistage du Dopage (LNDD) in the presence of the
American's Sapnish lawyer Jose Maria Buxeda plus experts from
the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and the UCI.

If the positive test is confirmed, Landis will be stripped
of his Tour victory and Oscar Pereiro Sio of Spain, who
finished second overall in this month's race, will be declared
the winner.

It would be the first time in the history of the sport's
biggest event that a Tour winner has been disqualified for

His Phonak team said Landis would be dismissed if the B
result was also positive.


The American, who has denied any wrongdoing and said his
body naturally produced high levels of testosterone, has said
he intends to continue racing once he has had an operation on
his hip.

The 30-year-old tested positive after an astounding
comeback in the last mountain stage of this year's Tour in the
French Alps, just a day after a very poor performance which all
but knocked him out of contention.

If the positive test is confirmed, he will have 10 days to
respond to the documents that are provided, according to USADA

Those documents, Landis's response and any documents USADA
would provide will go to a review panel some time after the 10

The review panel will make a recommendation whether or not
there is a case. USADA, based on that recommendation, will then
decide whether to charge Landis.

If USADA does charge the Phonak rider, he would have an
opportunity to contest that decision and the recommended
sanction before a U.S panel of judges.

The likely sanction is a two-year suspension from the

Landis's lawyers could then take the matter to the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and a long procedure would begin.

Testosterone can speed up recovery after exercise and
generally improves stamina and strength. Last weekend Olympic
100 meters champion Justin Gatlin admitted he had tested
positive for the same hormone.