Thursday, October 12, 2006

Floyd Landis rolled out key elements of his defense against doping charges in an online presentation Thursday, several months before the cyclist is to present his case to an arbitration panel in hopes of keeping his Tour de France title.

Early Thursday, Landis posted a PowerPoint presentation prepared by Arnie Baker, a retired doctor and longtime coach and adviser, as well as several hundred pages of documents related to the charges on his Web site, http://www.floydlandis.com .

The presentation highlights what are said to be a number of inconsistencies in both the paperwork and the results provided by the French lab that reported elevated ratios of testosterone to epitestosterone in Landis' "A" and "B" samples, as well as the presence of synthetic testosterone.

"We have no reason to question the conclusions of the Chatenay-Malabry lab," Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said Thursday, referring to the town where the French lab is located.

The alleged inconsistencies were part of a motion that the cyclist's attorney, Howard Jacobs, submitted to a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency review board seeking to have the case dismissed. That request was denied last month.

Landis is scheduled to present his formal appeal to a panel from the American Arbitration Society in late January or early February. He also could appeal to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Tour de France organizers already have said they no longer consider Landis the champion, elevating second-place finisher Oscar Pereiro instead. They also planned to begin proceedings to formally strip Landis' title when the appeals process is exhausted.

Landis' positive test results were reported less than a week after his triumphant July 23 ride into Paris. In the days following the report, Landis contended a number of factors could have triggered the result _ thyroid medication, cortisone injections for a damaged hip, his tendency to produce too much testosterone, even some whiskey he drank the night before his stirring win in Stage 17.

In the online presentation, Landis' experts now contend the French lab erred in its analysis, incorrectly labeled samples and ignored the World Anti-Doping Agency testing standards and chain-of-custody protocol, among numerous other mistakes.

"The whole process has been full of errors," Baker concludes at one point in the presentation.

USADA rules prohibit the agency from commenting on an active case.