Landis seeks to dismiss doping charges, claiming flawed testing

The attorney for Tour de France winner Floyd Landis submitted a motion to dismiss doping charges against the cyclist yesterday, claiming Landis’ positive testosterone tests were flawed and did not meet standards set by the World Anti-Doping Agency for a doping offense.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, attorney Howard Jacobs disputed the accuracy of the carbon isotope ratio tests performed on Landis’ urine sample at a lab in France.

Jacobs said three of the four testosterone metabolite differentials tested in Landis’ sample came out negative, when taking into account the margin of error. The negative results included the metabolite that, according to Jacobs, has been identified as the best indicator of testosterone use. Jacobs also claimed that the only metabolite that came up positive “resulted from an unknown laboratory error and is not the result of testosterone usage.”

Jacobs also claimed that the analysis of a different test, the testosterone-epitestosterone analysis, “is replete with fundamental, gross errors,” including mismatched sample code numbers that don’t belong to Landis. Jacobs said the alleged confirmed data on the `B’ sample came from a sample number not assigned to Landis.

Both Landis and USADA had representatives at the testing of the `B’ sample.

USADA general counsel Travis Tygart said the doping agency couldn’t comment on specific cases, but noted it is not unusual for athletes and their attorneys to seek dismissal of cases.

“Our standard process allows all athletes to make a submission to the USADA review board, and those submissions are seriously considered prior to any case going forward,” Tygart said.

A review board is expected to issue a recommendation on Landis’ case sometime in the next week. That process could be delayed if USADA responds directly to Jacobs’ letter.

If the review board recommends sanctions against Landis, he is expected to appeal that and ask for an arbitration hearing. Jacobs has said he would seek a public hearing, and USADA has said it would agree to one if sought.

Landis issued a statement reasserting his innocence.

“I did not take testosterone or any other performance enhancing substance and I’m very happy that the science is confirming my innocence,” he said. “I was relieved, but not surprised, when I learned that scientific experts found problems with the test.”

Jacobs, who did not immediately return messages left at his office by The Associated Press, did not reveal in his news release the identity of the experts who found problems with the test. Nor did he explain the “unknown laboratory error” that resulted in the positive on the single metabolite in the carbon isotope ratio test.