In now the world's longest race, Floyd Landis appears not to be the winner of the 2006 Tour de France. Spain's Oscar Pereiro, who crossed the finish line second, could be named the 2006 winner (Pereiro experienced his own doping troubles in 2006-7). MSNBC timeline of Landis episode here.
You will recall in July of 2006, Floyd Landis finished first in the Tour de France (we didn't say won). However, his urine showed a high testosterone:epitestosterone (T:E) ratio, which not only voided his first place finish for the time being, but also started
a joke a world wide obsession on T:E ratios. The 2006 Tour title hovered out there (in absentia we guess) until arbitration, which interesting enough took place at Pepperdine California not France (we said it was a long race).
In the meantime, Landis published a book about how the French anti-doping lab sucked, and David Walsh published another book on how much Lance Armstrong sucked.
The Landis hearing went into deliberation in May, with promised results in a couple weeks, or at least before the 2007 Tour began. The decision, however, did not make opening day of Tour 2007.
Now, in September 2007, Stage 2 of the Floyd Landis 2006 decision appears decided; Landis loses this stage. AP Story here. Also note Landis will receive a 2 year ban from pro cycling events.
Floyd Landis lost his expensive and explosive doping case Thursday when arbitrators upheld the results of a test that showed the 2006 Tour de France champion used synthetic testosterone to fuel his spectacular comeback victory, The Associated Press has learned.
The decision means Landis, who repeatedly has denied using performance-enhancing drugs, must forfeit his Tour de France title and is subject to a two-year ban, retroactive to Jan. 30, 2007.
Landis may have won Stage 1 (the race), lost State 2 (The USADA hearing), but may push on to Stage 3 -- The world court of Sports Arbitration.
If Landis doesn't appeal, he'll be the first person in the 105-year history of the race to lose the title because of a doping offense.
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.
The ruling, handed down nearly four months after a bizarre and bitterly fought hearing, leaves the American with one final way to possibly salvage his title — an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Of course, the US Anti-Doping Agency considers the verdict a victory for anti-doping. Floyd Landis considers the loss a loss for athletes. And lawyers all over just consider it more compensation.
"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.
It's a devastating loss for Landis, who has steadfastly insisted that cheating went against everything he was all about and said he was merely a pawn in the anti-doping system's all-consuming effort to find cheaters and keep money flowing to its labs and agencies.
Landis didn't hide from the scrutiny — invited it, in fact — and now has been found guilty by the closest thing to a fair trial any accused athlete will get.
Landis, who has a month to file his appeal, is still weighing his legal options, according to a statement released by his legal team.
"This ruling is a blow to athletes and cyclists everywhere" Landis said. "For the Panel to find in favor of USADA when, with respect to so many issues, USADA did not manage to prove even the most basic parts of their case shows that this system is fundamentally flawed. I am innocent, and we proved I am innocent."
We provide more information on this decision after the jump, as the day goes on...Landis will hold a news conference later today to announce his future plans.