September 17, 2007 — A decision in the Floyd Landis case is expected within the week reports the Los Angeles Times. Landis, formerly with Phonak, won the 2006 TdF, but tested positive for synthetic testosterone on stage 17 of the Tour where he delivered one of cycling’s most stunning performances ever, and rebounded into contention after cracking on Stage 16. Landis denied taking any illicit substances, claiming that the laboratory which tested him positive had botched the analysis. This set a stage for a colourful 10-day hearing on the Landis case at Malibu’s Pepperdine University in May of this year.
The case was judged by a three-member panel of the American Arbitration Agency (AAA), reporting to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The panel formally closed the hearing record this past Thursday, after concluding communications with their scientific advisor, Dr. Francesco Botre, director of the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Rome according to the LA Times. Consequently, the panel which is composed of three lawyers – Patrice Brunet of Montreal; Richard H. McLaren of London, Ontario; and Chris Campbell, of San Francisco – must issue a ruling by September 23.
The arbitrators have the power of judges and, if they convict Landis, he would be stripped of his 2006 TdF title and face a two-year suspension, effectively ending the career of the 31-year-old cyclist. While both sides could appeal an unfavourable judgment to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, it is rumoured that Landis is running out of cash after spending some $2 million on the hearing.