Cyclingnews.com reports that Floyd Landis, who tested positive for testosterone and was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title only days after finishing in Paris, has launched an appeal against the final CAS decision to uphold their verdict of his guilt. Oh, and the $100k bill he got stuck with. The bases for this action are two-fold – firstly that the three arbitrators on the panel (including the one chosen by Landis and his team) had conflicts of interest, and that the decision on dumping the costs on Landis was made in a way that prevented any right for his team to respond.
What’s less certain is whether the appeal can actually go anywhere – it is an appeal to a US Federal court, while the CAS arbitration was decided at their HQ in Switzerland. Landis is due to return to racing in 2009, having served his ban. There seems to be a curious pattern with high profile sports doping cases involving American athletes, with defence often hinging on perceived (and often minor) procedural defects. Rarely are the athletes really able to challenge the laboratory tests themselves. I recently wrote about an opinion piece in the journal Nature, which seemed to me to be rather cautious on the statistics of positive dope tests, particularly during lengthy sports events such as the Grand Tours.
Regular readers of cyclingews.com may recall the many (often bizarre) twists and turns in this lengthy process: their full and detailed coverage can be found here.