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French lab made administrative error with Landis "B" sample

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday November 15, 2006

Paris- The French laboratory that analyzed the "B" sample of disputed Tour de France winner Floyd Landis made an administrative error, its director admitted on Wednesday. The admission by Jacques de Ceaurriz, head of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory (LNDD) at Chatenay-Malabry, confirmed a report published Wednesday by the daily Le Monde declaring that the wrong sample label number had been entered in the official report of the analysis of Landis's "B" sample.

The results of that test had confirmed that Landis had illegally high levels of testosterone in his blood when he won a crucial late stage of the Tour.

"The identification number for Floyd Landis was 995 474, while that in the report was written 994 474," Le Monde reported, adding that this did not mean that the sample analyzed was not Landis's, but that "it will be used by his lawyers, who are to present new defence elements on Friday."

According to Ceaurriz, "This was merely a writing error which does not cast doubt on the value of the analysis or on the purity of the sample."

However, Landis's attorney, Howard Jacobs, has already suggested that the laboratory made several errors, including mismatching sample identification numbers

In a letter sent to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency earlier this year, Jacobs claimed that the positive result on the "B" sample had come from a number not given to Landis.

Landis's victory in the 2006 Tour de France has been thrown into doubt by the positive doping test, and organizers of the race no longer consider him the winner.

The 31-year old American is contesting the test results in a hearing in the United States. If he loses the appeal, he will be stripped of the Tour de France title and likely banned from riding for two years.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency