CAS Refuses to Hear Landis Appeal. Positive Doping Verdict Upheld.

le_tour_de_farce.jpgSo ends one of the most ludicrous, unfair, illegitimate and biased trials in the history of professional sport. According to CNN, a three person committee meeting in Lausanne Switzerland has issued a 58 page ruling denying Floyd’s request to be heard on appeal.  In addition to upholding the previous decision of WADA (the World Anti-Doping Association) the committee criticized Landis harshly and fined him an additional $100,000 to go towards covering a portion of the expenses accrued by WADA and USADA (the United States Anti Doping Association) while they prosecuted Landis for his supposed use of synthetic testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France.

From my perspective as a biochemist and a former professional cyclist who raced many times with Floyd this is a sad day for Floyd but also for the sport of cycling.  This ending – in my opinion- is the culmination of a witch hunt that has been going on ever since Lance Armstrong donned  his first yellow jersey.

This is much less about a true agenda to keep the sport clean and much more about retribution for having the temerity to win the Tour de France seven times and never come up positive for drugs.  Only they couldn’t nail Lance (and I’m not saying that Lance took drugs, either.  In fact if there was any single human being capable of doing what he did without drugs, it was Lance who could do it).

So Landis gets to take the fall, payback from a frustrated country that hasn’t had an athlete capable of winning their own national tour since Fignon lost to LeMond back when EPO couldn’t be detected and amateurs were dropping dead like flies from the drugs they were using.

So Landis is now out of options, out of a job, a title and apparently out of money too.  What really sucks about this is that I’m still not convinced that he was positive for synthetic testosterone that he ingested the day he staged his miraculous comeback.  The numbers for that never added up in my mind, the case was based upon data that was clearly flawed and the court that arbitrated the hearing was so intent on nailing Landis to the proverbial cross that they overlooked the half dozen obvious flaws in the testing, the analysis, the reporting and even the disclosure of the test results.

Any one of these issues should have been sufficient to have this whole thing tossed out and the fact that it wasn’t is prima facie evidence in my opinion that they never had any intention of giving Landis a fair trial.  It was a forgone conclusion from the start that Floyd was going to be the sacrificial lamb and so he was.

This sucks for the sport.  It’s really too bad that the riders don’t have the initiative to unionize and stand up to USADA and WADA and all the other “ADAs”.  These “ASS-sociations” are the ones that are screwing up the sport.  If I were leading the rider’s union I’d suggest that not a single rider submit to another control until there are better ways so insure that the rider’s rights are preserved during the anti-doping control process and that there is no way that a rider can be arbitrarily called a doper and have his career destroyed when the truth is really that incompetent technicians using flawed procedures are the ones at fault and should be the people held accountable.

I know this sounds like I’m soft on Floyd but that simply isn’t the truth.  I’m sympathetic towards Floyd, it’s true, but only because I know enough about what has gone on and also about what lead to his comeback (See “Floyd Landis and the Magic Water Bottle; Part 1, Part 2)to be certain beyond a reasonable doubt that Floyd didn’t dope on the 17th stage and that the stripping of his title and the destruction of his career are a travesty and an assault on a hard working and  deserving champion.

One of the things that really pisses me off about this is the hypocrisy of the other riders in the race.  If there’s a single professional cyclist in the peloton of the Tour de France that is totally ignorant about which drugs to use and when to use them, he’s both inhumanly gifted and spectacularly naive.   These guys all know that you don’t use testosterone for a single day performance boost.  It simply doesn’t work that way and the doctors, the riders, the USADA and WADA judges all know this.  Floyd knew this too.  In fact, a single injection of testosterone in the morning before a stage would have been among the dumbest of all possible moves.

Not only does it not help, and likely hinder performance, is readily detected and difficult to mask, the shot itself can make you sore too.  Steroids have their place in a properly constructed doping protocol but that place is not 0n the morning of the 17th stage of the Tour.  The fact that all these riders – guys that Floyd has raced with for almost a decade – and guys that I’m sure Floyd treated with respect have been pathetic and spineless.  I guess that’s sort of to be expected. After all, look how these guys fight.

All the same, what goes around comes around and when one of the guys that benefited from Landis ridiculous disqualification finds himself on the wrong side of a bottle of piss there won’t be anyone to stand up for him either.  Of course this sort of thing is relatively unlikely to happen again soon.  There aren’t many Americans with a Tour de France win in their future tearing up the road these days and the one guy that I think has a chance to be that good is still a junior – though with the genetics of David Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney I think you can expect great things from him so long as the doping police leave him alone…

About Oliver

Oliver Starr is a well known blogger, speaker and serial entrepreneur. His current blogging is focused on mobile technology and applications, green (eco-protective) technologies, and entrepreneurs and their companies. He is currently engaged as the Community Evangelist for, a new social curation tool. Oliver was also a professional cyclist and six time member of the US National Cycling Team.
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14 Responses to CAS Refuses to Hear Landis Appeal. Positive Doping Verdict Upheld.

  1. Ken S says:

    I also expect this type of thing to happen again. I’m not sure how much of it was to get a US athlete, but seems getting a high profile athlete and showing that the “ASS-sociations” are needed and need more money was probably a good part of it. I’m no professional cyclist and I didn’t even sleep at holiday inn last night, but you’d think at least a few of them would see what happened to Floyd and question it.

    By the way, I was enjoying your “Floyd Landis and the Magic Water Bottle”, will we ever see Part 3? I was interested in seeing where your thoughts on the subject were going.


  2. m30339 says:

    Oliver, the CAS decision at “” is pretty technical. A biochemist’s assessment would be helpful. The report claims to be a de novo review of the case, meaning prior findings of fact are tossed and the parties present the facts all over.

    The report says that testosterone was high not only in the Stage 17 sample, but also in 4 other “B” samples (even though the “A” samples in those other 4 stages passed the lab’s screen).

    You’re the biochemist, can epitestosterone be reliably measured by the French lab, or are the results so varied that they become unreliable. It doesn’t sound reliable if 4 “A” samples were cleared but then 4 “B” samples weren’t. It almost sounds like if you want to bust a guy, run these erratic testosterone tests — a couple of them are bound to be positive.

  3. admin says:

    M30339, great questions!

    The lab in question should probably not be certified at all. Following Armstrong’s seventh TDF win, this same lab released test results purported to be Armstrong’s from several tours prior that they claimed showed traces of EPO – a drug that wasn’t detectable when those samples were provided.

    There’s a lot more to that story, but the salient facts for our purposes here are that Armstrong took exception to their claims and the UCI had an independent evaluation of that lab. (link to report.

    The evaluation found that in the Armstrong case there were something like 47 procedural and technical violations. The lab should have had its UCI charter revoked and should not have even been performing the evaluations for this tour.

    Further, even under the best of circumstances the testosterone/epitestosterone question is one that is not consistently reliably answered. It is one of the few areas in which an acceptable range rather than a present or absent criteria is used. There have been dozens of cases that have been thrown out because there are so many variables that can influence test/epitest ratios and results. It is a terrible test under the best of circumstances and from what I have heard, the conditions at the Mabry lab were hardly among the best.

    In fact, I even heard that things like the large magnets that are used in GC Mass Spec machines were left lying atop the machine (apparently they had an additional set for some reason). This is an incredibly sensitive machine and having magnets anywhere near it, let alone right on top of it would destroy the accuracy of any test run on it – even after those magnets had been removed and until it had been professionally re calibrated.

    In fact, when you get a ticket on radar for speeding you actually have the right to request more proof that the equipment was functioning correctly and that the technician using it was trained properly than they allowed Floyd to demand in his case.

    In addition the lab and WADA both violated their own rules in so many ways that I am shocked that the case was not thrown out on that basis alone.

    In fact, everything they did – such as notifying the press before notifying Landis and well ahead of the testing of the B sample violates their own rules.

    Frankly, the tour may be dirty and professional cycling may be dirtier still, but by far the dirtiest of all are the criminals at WADA, USADA and now CAS that have destroyed the name and career of a rider that, in my informed opinion did not – could not have – used the drug they claim he used on the stage in which they claim he used it.

    Beyond any test, beyond any claim by any other rider or any official the biochemistry and pharmacology of the human body and that drug respectively interact in such a way that for Floyd to have used that drug on that day, far from helping him would have so compromised his performance that he would have had trouble finishing let alone putting in a performance that was so excellent, so intelligent and so well executed that the only recourse that the people who desperately wanted a non-American winner had was to cheat him out of the race by any means possible; and I believe that this is exactly what they did.

    Oliver Starr

  4. m30339 says:

    Thanks for your extra comments Oliver. The Landis case will go down as a condemnation of Floyd and riders in general, and little will be said about the flimsy evidence and the miscarriage of justice.

  5. vvvmgar says:

    Oliver, Are we ever going to see part 3 of “the magic water bottle”? I was completely immersed in your take on what really/might have happened – you have the unique perspective of being a former racer, as well as your biochemist background! Please, please finish the series!

  6. Jean C says:


    There is numerous errors here…

    In the same time, ex-Lance team mate Manuel Beltran tested positive for EPO… We have spoken a lot about 1999 Lance’s urine EPO but Beltran was one who has EPO in his 1999 urines… he tested positive for corticoid too that same year, but cleared by a anti dated TUE … like Lance!

    When you write about the GCMS, did you know there were 2? And you are refering to the unused in Landis testing!

    What about Landis’ hematocrit values which are showing anormal values like blood manipulation?

    What about the so strange bonk followed by an extraordinary recovery? How can you explain that as former pro rider?

    How is it possible for Landis to ride in front of peloton with EPO doped riders who have an enormous advantage (20% of increased power)? There is only 5% of difference between a pro tour rider and a continental rider?

    Thanks for your explanation about the myths!

  7. admin says:


    Thanks for your comments. Please understand that I am not writing about Lance here – only about Landis and only in regards to the charges that he used synthetic testosterone during the seventeenth stage of the Tour.

    I see that Beltran has gotten himself in trouble just the other day and that is unfortunate. It is equally unfortunate, however, that when athletes, in good faith put themselves at risk (by providing samples that they were not required to provide) under the assurance that this act – which was requested solely for research purposes – would not come back to haunt the riders ends up doing exactly that in the form of attacks on them by the media, challenges to the validity of their results, and ultimately untold damage to the athlete’s names and reputations.

    The fact that Mawbray violated their word to the riders by failing to completely anonymize samples, and then, in spite of not having a valid and provable chain of custody as well as any proof that the samples were analyzed correctly, they leaked their supposed “results” to the press to attempt to pillory Lance and others? Why don’t the folks that run the lab get penalized when THEY break the rules.

    I’m sorry but this really pisses me off. Why is it that the folks running WADA and USADA and the Lab Anti Dopage Mawbray in France can break their own rules any time they feel like it. Can assault rider’s reputations using flawed tests and miscalibrated equipment and yet when it is proven that they’ve broken their own rules, violated their own procedures and for all intents and purposes made up their own test results they these damnable miscreants aren’t themselves hung out to dry for being charlatans that hide behind the white lab coat of their profession?

    Like the riders that benefited from Floyd’s misfortune are hypocrites since we know that they’re all on the same program, the peers of the technicians at Mawbray are equally to blame for not stepping forward and taking a stand against the sort of dishonest practices and shoddy analysis that this team of lab rats has done.

    Personally I think that is as much a question and as great a travesty as anything else here. The UCI report on the lab found something like 47 different procedural and technical deficiencies with their processes of analysis – why was this lab still testing anything related to athletes or sports? They had already proven beyond a doubt that they were ethically incapable of doing the job and technically incapable of doing the job as well.

    If I take my car to a mechanic and he screws it up and then I see a news special where this same mechanic has made 47 mistakes on another car just like mine, how smart would I be to take the car back to the same guy? But that is exactly what the TDF and WADA and USADA and even the UCI did.

    The fact that they even tested urine at all gives me pause. I have to doubt every single result they’ve ever generated and so should the public. In every case where the proper questions were asked, the lab was found wanting. Why is it that they weren’t forced to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that their methods were beyond question?

    Further, and specific to your questions about hematocrit, testing hematocrit is a notoriously bad way to gauge if a rider is doing something illegal or not. Hematocrit can vary enormously just based upon how well hydrated or how badly dehydrated the athlete is. In fact that variation for that factor is far greater than the variation from manipulation of the blood either with rEPO or by removing and reinfusing RBCs to boost O2 carrying capacity of the blood.

    Besides that, among all the tricky things that drug docs can do, playing with hematocrit with fluid volume and exogenous RBCs is childs play compared to the really serious stuff that they do these days.

    With regards to Landis in particular, I don’t know if he used rEPO or reinfused his own RBCs or trained low and slept high… or none of the above. I don’t know if any of the other riders in the tour did either.

    My articles weren’t addressing this issue and I don’t intend to I don’t have sufficient information in the way that I did for the series I did on Floyd’s seventeenth stage win, which, incidentally, does answer your question about his bonking on the 16th stage then winning on the 17th.

    Hopefully you have found my answers useful in helping you see more clearly what I see and why I see it that way.


    Oliver Starr

  8. Jean C says:

    OK you are writing about Landis but you are referring about facts or allegations linked to Armstrong so we need to revisit history to see the flaws in some allegations.
    I can just encourage you to read more stuff about Vrijman’s report, Verbruggen (alias Verdruggen), and so.

    After you can try to answer to those questions:

    About 1999 EPO retrotesting:
    Was it a normal testing or study testing? Should they follow the normal procedure or just a scientic procedure?

    Who leaked the names asssociated to the key samples? Wasn’t it Armstrong himself with the UCI help?

    What are the relation between Verbbruggen and Armstrong? Why Armstrong testified to have given 500.000dollars to UCI for blood testing equipment? Where are that equipment? Where are the moneys?

    What are the relation between Verbruggen and Vrijman? Why chose a close friend to conduct an “independent” inquiry involving UCI?
    Why Vrijman, the lawye, was not able to respect french law, and pretend to be unallowed to enter LNDD when he didn’t requested an authorization?

    What were the conclusions of WADA about the UCI and Vrijman’s report?

    About hematocrit:
    Of course, hct level can vary linked to dehydrated state, to avoid that error riders are tested during the morning, and they are not dehydrated before the race. If they were they could only have bad results because a small dehydration is cutting performance by 10%… So none hemathologists have disputed the values of Floyd…Even Damsgaard who knows exactly how are done the tests!

    In cycling Testosterone is used commonly for a better recovering, especially because it was easy to beat the screening test (the ratio T/E).
    To pretend that the lab and other people are monkeys without serious proofs is more abject than the eventuality of a lab error.
    You should read more different sources… there is a lot of people working with GCMS. Why Landis’team was just able to provide just one expert who was payed a lot? Why not request 2 or 3 more experts who would have come for 10 times less pay?

    And why Landis topped the 4th best time in last pass after ridden alone along the whole stage?

    Best regards.

  9. admin says:


    Since it is obvious that you have access to reports and information that the public doesn’t have, and since I have given you an open platform to state your views and contradict my own, I think it is only fair that you divulge your particular affiliation and the basis for your contradictions.

    It seems pretty clear to me that you are associated with some facet of the French anti-doping community, be it the lab at Mawbray or the press, but it is unreasonable for your statements to be accepted without you providing some background information so that we are able to balance our opinion given full knowledge of your particular bias and why you might have same.


  10. Mike says:

    Fascinating articles…you only have to recollect the diane modahl case to realise that french drug testing and the very idea of the athletics bodies conducting their own prosecution is a shambles. Seems to have repeated itself.

    As an observation on fair process..the Lab SHOULD NEVER KNOW whos samples they have – it should be impossible for the lab to announce a poistive. The link between names and numbers should be kept away from the test lab.

    So to the point of the comment

    I too would like to know why it is you feel landis statement conceals a hidden truth about day 17 – cant see the connection. Other than to say anyone can have a bad day.

  11. admin says:


    Thanks for reading and commenting. For those confused by the comment above it refers to the following statement made in another post on the Landis Tour de France debacle: Speaking about the disastrous stage, Floyd said something which I found to be very telling. In fact, I believe, and experience dictates that my belief is correct, that what Landis said actually explains everything about what happened the following day.

    “I was struggling even on the climbs before that,” Landis said. “I tried to hide it, but I wasn’t good, and then on the last climb there was only a certain speed I could go, which wasn’t very fast.” Floyd Landis following his disastrous finish on the 16th stage of the 2006 Tour de France

    As I said, this statement is very telling but what it tells us is not obvious and also probably not what you’d expect….

    Okay, here’s why I think this statement is so important:
    In cycling going fast (and especially doing so going uphill) requires that your muscles as well as the nerves that control them AND your cardiovascular system are functioning at optimal levels and that you are sufficiently fueled, hydrated and physically recovered.

    It is an interesting phenomenon that during a long stage race like the tour you build up so much cumulative fatigue that it become impossible to get your heart rate up nearly as high as you could during the first days of the race or even during an intense effort during a training ride.

    Couple this cardiac fatigue (the heart is, after all simply a very specialized muscle) with deep fatigue of muscle tissue and possible depressed levels of key neurotransmitters and you have a unique situation where the athlete is actually so fatigued that even their most maximal sustained effort is so far below their actual capabilities that in spite of the fact that he or she may feel as if they are suffering terribly they are actually riding at a tempo that allows a certain degree of recovery.

    So when Landis said that there was “only one speed he could go and it wasn’t very fast” I believe that the above scenario is what happened. As a result Floyd had a chance to recoup some of his ability due to his bad day on stage 16.

    Conversely, the other riders that took time out of Floyd on 16 now found themselves in the same state that Floyd was in the prior day. Add to this a course that was ideal for a long solo break, the heat making hydration a critical issue (and which further favored a lone rider having unlimited access to water without additional effort and I contend that this all conspired to give Floyd all the benefit necessary to explain his performances on both the s16 and / 17th stages.

    Does that answer your question? Make sense? let me know.


  12. Burger1097 says:

    mmmm……no response from Jean C?

  13. admin says:

    Isn’t it though? Wonder if his paycheck come from Laboratoire Anti-Dopage, Mawbray, FR.?

    Wouldn’t surprise me. They’re full of dirty tricks…why would they limit themselves to the lab…


  14. Ed Trottier says:

    I have forgotten most of the details in “Positively False,” but it seemed to me that it was the RATIO of natural/synthetic testosterone that was the issue, and that in NO WAY could have the “denominator” dropped so low (causing the ratio to be HIGH). After that, it was all down hill (little bike racing allusion there). And as a reformed bureaucrat, what were they going to do, admit error. Not bloody likely. And so another good guy bites the dust. I hope he kicks every butt in the peloton, team gets into le Tour and he does it all over again. Great novel in the shadows of someone’s mind.

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