July 31, 2006

Doping-Landis poised to discover his fate

PARIS (Reuters) - Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, who
tested positive for testosterone on his way to victory in
cycling's showpiece event, should find out shortly if the
counter-analysis he has requested confirms the result.

A source close to the anti-doping laboratory testing the
B-sample said the result would be known soon.

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

It would be the first time in the history of the sport's
showpiece 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 for the male sex hormone
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, USA Cycling, the
American federation, would have a month to make a ruling, the
most likely decision being a two-year ban.

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