Not a big surprise, but the ruling finally came down from USADA as Floyd Landis is guilty of doping. The court case wrapped up four months ago and is best remembered for the bizarre soap opera like revelations. Landis has one month to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The ruling came down to a 2 to 1 decision.
According to documents obtained by AP, the vote was 2-1 to uphold the results, with lead arbitrator Patrice Brunet and Richard McLaren in the majority and Christopher Campbell dissenting.
Not surprisingly Travis Tygart feels vindicated by the ruling:
“Today’s ruling is a victory for all clean athletes and everyone who values fair and honest competition,” U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart said.
The ruling is interesting in that the lab was found to violate WADA rules when conducting the tests, but this finding did not help Landis overturn the overall conviction of being positive in his first test.
In its 84-page decision, the majority found the initial screening test to measure Landis’ testosterone levels — the testosterone-to-epitestosterone test — was not done according to World Anti-Doping Agency rules. But the more precise and expensive carbon-isotope ration analysis (IRMS), performed after a positive T-E test is recorded, was accurate, the arbitrators said, meaning “an anti-doping rule violation is established.”
“As has been held in several cases, even where the T-E ratio has been held to be unreliable … the IRMS analysis may still be applied,” the majority wrote. “It has also been held that the IRMS analysis may stand alone as the basis” of a positive test for steroids.
The decision comes more than a year after Landis’ stunning comeback in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour, one that many people said couldn’t be done without some kind of outside help. Flying to the lead near the start of a grueling Alpine stage, Landis regained nearly eight minutes against the leader, and went on to win the three-week race.
“Well, all I can say is that justice has been done, and that this is what the UCI felt was correct all along,” Pat McQuaid, leader of cycling’s world governing body, told The Associated Press by telephone. “We now await and see if he does appeal to CAS.
“It’s not a great surprise considering how events have evolved. He got a highly qualified legal team who tried to baffle everybody with science and public relations. And in the end the facts stood up.”
So, the testing procedures were violated, but the ruling of doping still stands? Chris Campbell had many concerns about the procedures and his vote was to dissent as he did in the Tyler Hamilton case.
“In many instances, Mr. Landis sustained his burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Campbell wrote. “The documents supplied by LNDD are so filled with errors that they do not support an Adverse Analytical Finding. Mr. Landis should be found innocent.”
… In his dissent, Campbell latched onto the T-E ratio test, among other things, as proof that the French lab couldn’t be trusted.
“Also, the T-E ratio test is acknowledged as a simple test to run. The IRMS test is universally acknowledged as a very complicated test to run, requiring much skill. If the LNDD couldn’t get the T-E ratio test right, how can a person have any confidence that LNDD got the much more complicated IRMS test correct?”
It was confusion like this that led to the system receiving the harsh review Landis was hoping for during a nine-day hearing in Malibu, Calif., in May. But Landis also took his share of abuse, and ultimately, USADA still improved to 35-0 in cases it has brought before arbitration panels since it was founded in 2000.