Monday, February 15, 2010

Updated: Warrants Issued for Landis and Baker

By now you know that a French judge issued an international a domestic arrest warrant for U.S. cyclist Floyd Landis and disgraced physician Arnie Baker, in connection with a case of data hacking at the Chatenay-Malabry doping laboratory. If you aren't aware of this, skip down to the text that starts with "PARIS -- A French judge..." 

Updates: 1) warrants are domestic; 2) ESPN's updated coverage is here.

Now then, having read's coverage of this latest development in the Landis Affair, proceed to Twisted Spoke for well-written and engaging commentary on a drama that rivals my own personal epic. Dear Reader, this is one of those moments when someone else has done such a good job covering a subject that I'm happy to direct you there...please don't be disappointed that Pappillon reserves comment on the Landis/Baker arrest warrants. Not only did Matt Walsh take the words right out of our mouth, but those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones (but you can clean glass in direct sunlight, apparently...). I hope to see the end of this entire sordid affair soon. Ongoing investigations are brutal for everyone involved, but hopefully justice is eventually served and consciences cleared.

PARIS -- A French judge has issued an international arrest warrant for U.S. cyclist Floyd Landis in connection with a case of data hacking at a doping laboratory, France's anti-doping chief said Monday.

Pierre Bordry told The Associated Press that French judge Thomas Cassuto is seeking to question Landis about computer hacking dating back to September 2006 at the Chatenay-Malabry lab. Months earlier, the laboratory near Paris had uncovered abnormally elevated testosterone levels in Landis' samples collected in the run-up to his 2006 Tour de France victory.

Landis was stripped of his title and banned for two years. The American cyclist unsuccessfully challenged the drug test results before an arbitration hearing in California -- claiming that computer files were mishandled and erased.

"Landis used the hacked files for his defense, that's how we discovered the whole scheme," Bordry said. "He wanted to show that the lab made mistakes in the handling of the tests."

The French judge, who is based in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, issued the warrant Jan. 28 because Landis did not respond to a summons in November, Bordry said. The Nanterre prosecutor's office confirmed the warrant had been issued.

"Apparently the judge traced the case back to the beginning," Bordry said. "I can't say I'm happy with this news because I would have preferred there was no Landis case."

Bordry added that Cassuto also issued an international warrant for Arnie Baker, a retired doctor and longtime Landis coach and adviser.

After discovering the hacking, the French lab upgraded security to protect its computer systems. Landis' urine samples were tested at the lab and found to contain elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone levels, less than a week after he won the Tour de France.

On July 20, 2006, Landis started the 17th stage of the Tour more than 8 minutes behind leader Oscar Pereiro after losing the yellow jersey to the Spaniard the previous day. The American produced an amazing ride during the mountain stage to cut Pereiro's lead to 30 seconds before taking the title.

Landis' samples taken after that stage revealed a testosterone/epitestosterone ratio of 11:1. The limit is 4:1. The Chatenay-Malabry lab is accredited by the International Olympic Committee and World Anti-Doping Agency. It helped develop tests for the endurance-enhancing drug EPO.

Landis returned to competition at the Tour of California last year. He recently competed in a minor race staged in New Zealand.

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