Landis Fights Doping Charge Cycling champion Floyd Landis is fighting doping charges at an arbitration hearing in California. If he loses, he will be the first Tour de France winner to be stripped of his title.
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Landis Fights Doping Charge

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Landis Fights Doping Charge

Landis Fights Doping Charge

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This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.


I'm Alex Chadwick.

The cyclist who won last year's Tour de France, Floyd Landis, is making the case that he did not use banned drugs during the race. Today is day two of his hearing here in Southern California.

BRAND: A panel of three is trying to decide whether Landis cheated his way to victory. The 10-day hearing at Pepperdine University is open to the public. That's unusual for a doping case.

NPR's Tom Goldman is there and he reports on the opening session.

TOM GOLDMAN: Arlene Landis pointed the digital camera at her son Floyd as he sat in the trial courtroom at the Pepperdine Law School. You had to wonder which family photo album was this picture going to go in. The moment seemed a bit odd for an athlete facing a possible four-year suspension and a ruined reputation, but the Landises are a confident bunch - from Arlene, the Mennonite homemaker in her purple dress and traditional white head covering, to Floyd, who arrived at the hearing yesterday morning wearing a bright yellow tie, the color of the winner's jersey at the Tour de France, and a smile.

Mr. FLOYD LANDIS (Cyclist): I'm excited. I've got a very good team. And we have an exceptional case and we're going to show it to the world now.

GOLDMAN: You think you're going to win?

Mr. LANDIS: If we get a fair hearing we will.

GOLMAN: Elite cycling doesn't even register with a lot of mainstream sports fans in this country. But the Floyd Landis case is unprecedented for any athlete who's ever been in trouble. With his online posting of documents in his doping case to Landis's unwavering claims of innocence in interviews and public appearances, never has an athlete accused of cheating been so forthright in his defense. It's either the biggest snow job in sports history or, as Landis's attorney implied yesterday, the greatest miscarriage of justice.

Mr. MAURICE SUH (Attorney): Make no mistake about it, this case is an utter disaster, the disaster of the anti-doping movement.

GOLDMAN: The disaster, according to Maurice Suh, was the sum of many things going wrong. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is prosecuting the case, violated Landis's rights, he said, and mistakes by the French lab that did the testing on Landis's urine samples included violations of rules regarding the sample's chain of custody and rules regarding the preparation of lab documents.

Mr. SUH: Any one of these is enough. We're going to show that all of these actually had an impact on the final result.

GOLDMAN: That final result was a positive reading for banned synthetic testosterone. And it registered that way because Floyd Landis cheated. That was the message from prosecutor Rich Young. He said recent retesting of other Landis urine samples from the Tour de France showed evidence of synthetic testosterone as well. Young said he'll call to the witness stand an expert in steroid profiling, who will testify...

Mr. RICHARD YOUNG (Lead Prosecutor): That you don't go from a historical steroid profile of less to two, peak up, and then go back to less to two again, unless there is some sort of manipulation. Let's say this is strong evidence of manipulation.

GOLDMAN: Despite the attention on the Landis case, Young said it's no different from dozens of similar doping cases the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has prosecuted, cases that hinge on hardcore science and the testimony of expert scientific witnesses. So it wasn't really surprising that by early afternoon yesterday the excitement of an open hearing had been replaced by some drooping eyelids and bobbing heads in the gallery. After it was over, Floyd Landis's mom said about the science of doping, I don't know apples from oranges.

Ms. ARLENE LANDIS (Mom): All I know (unintelligible) eat it. (Unintelligible)

GOLDMAN: And how is Arlene Landis handling the scrutiny of her son?

Ms. LANDIS: I'm at peace about it. You know, I know (unintelligible). No matter what comes of it, he's still highly respected by me.

GOLDMAN: Floyd Landis is scheduled to testify before the end of the expected 10-day hearing. The arbitrators will rule on the case next month.

Tom Goldman, NPR News, Malibu.

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