- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2007

12:58 p.m.

PARIS — The French Anti-Doping Agency will rule tomorrow whether to ban Floyd Landis from racing in France for up to two years after his positive doping test at the 2006 Tour de France.

The nine-member panel, headed by AFLD president Philippe Bordry, will meet in Paris, and Bordry said Landis will receive a fair hearing.

“It’s not because someone is positive that he must be automatically suspended,” Bordry said. “The rights of the defense are very important.”

Landis’ urine sample after a Tour de France stage win was found to contain elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone levels. He risks being the first rider in the 104-year history of the race to be stripped of his title, and Tour director Christian Prudhomme has said the Tour no longer considers him the winner.

The American cyclist was not expected to attend the hearing and may instead be represented by a lawyer.

Under French law, the AFLD has the right to “sanction by one or two years suspension on French soil,” Bordry said. That would exclude Landis from this year’s Tour de France and other events such as Paris-Nice and Paris-Roubaix races.

Bordry said Landis was informed in September that he would face an AFLD hearing.

“When the result of the ‘B’ sample confirmed that of the ‘A,’ we told him that he was entering into the French disciplinary process,” Bordry said.

Landis’ lawyer can argue a final time before the panel — which includes French magistrates — before the AFLD meets to decide its verdict.

Landis has denied any wrongdoing and argues that the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory that carried out the tests is unreliable — a view shared by seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong.

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