March 19, 2008 (New York, NY) – Floyd Landis (formerly with Phonak) will have one last chance this week to overturn a doping conviction and clear his name reports AP. The American who won the 2006 Tour de France but then was revealed to have tested positive for doping with artificial testosterone, was prosecuted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in May by a panel of arbitrators. Last September, the three-man panel announced a split-decision guilty verdict.
Since then, Landis has appealed his conviction to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which will hear the case this Wednesday in a New York City law office. Landis is challenging his cycling suspension that expires out in January, 2009.
The case has been a very costly one for USADA. Some estimates put the final price tag for prosecuting Landis at 10% of the agency’s $12 million annual budget. USADA receives about 70% of its revenues from the federal government and the balance from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart is quoted as saying that his organization prefers to spend its resources preventing doping and testing athletes rather than on prosecuting those who fail doping tests. He nonetheless upholds athletes’ right to defend themselves. Landis, for his part, has expressed little concern for exhausting the coffers of an organization that he believes is biased against athletes.
The New York hearing is expected to last five days behind closed doors and will likely be devoid of the heavy media coverage and theatrical testimony during last May’s hearing at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
The defence has probably spent about $2 million on this case to date according to Landis’ former spokesman, Michael Henson. The defence legal team will again include Maurice Suh and Howard Jacobs. Each side pays their respective lawyers’ fees and costs associated with having their witnesses appear before the hearing.
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