Landis Wants Any Retests Done At UCLA Lab

Thursday, April 12th 2007, 8:23 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will test backup urine samples from Tour de France champion Floyd Landis over the cyclist's protests about the need for the tests and the credentials of the French lab where they'll be analyzed.

Landis, who tested positive at last year's Tour, said the tests aren't necessary because the primary "A" samples were negative for doping. If the tests must take place, though, he wants them done at the UCLA lab that handles much of USADA's testing.

But the machine used for the tests at UCLA is under repair and won't be running by next Monday, which is when the backup samples are to be tested.

"We couldn't do them," said Don Catlin, who recently stepped down as head of the UCLA lab. "It was very clear and the reason we couldn't do them is that we had one instrument, and it was down."

Because of that, the samples have been sent to the Chatenay-Malabry lab outside Paris, which did the tests for the Tour. Landis' urine sample after a 17th-stage win in the 2006 Tour was found to contain elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels.

Landis has accused that lab of testing irregularities he said might have caused him to test positive.

"The UCLA lab is widely regarded as the best in the world, and I have full confidence that if these samples were tested there that they would come back negative, as would have my Stage 17 test from the Tour de France." Landis said. "This is why I've requested that they test the samples at UCLA, a request that USADA has repeatedly denied."

Landis' spokesman, Michael Henson, said he knew the machine at UCLA was down.

"But the machinery being down, the machinery being up, that's not an issue for us," Henson said. "That's something they need to address with the labs that do (carbon isotope ratio) on these samples. We still would like to see them done at UCLA with operating machinery."

Catlin said "a WADA lab is a WADA lab."

"I know they're card-carrying, full-fledged members of the (World Anti-Doping Agency) system," he said. "WADA holds everyone to standards. They do that with an iron club."

Landis has an arbitration hearing scheduled for May 14 in California, at which he is expected to question the practices at the French lab.

Other than the 17th-stage samples, all the samples Landis provided during the race came back negative for performance-enhancing drugs.

Normally, backup samples from negative tests are not tested themselves, but USADA plans to test the Tour backup samples to gather additional evidence for other aspects of its case. If the tests of the backup samples come back positive, the results cannot be considered an analytical positive test, according to a ruling by arbitrators who approved the testing of the backup samples.

USADA general counsel Travis Tygart would not comment on the case because it's still active.

If doping allegations against the 31-year-old Landis are upheld, he faces a two-year ban from competition. He also would be the first rider in the 104-year history of the Tour to be stripped of the title. He already has agreed not to compete in this year's event while the case is pending.