(AFP) – Sep 25, 2007
SAN DIEGO, United States (AFP) — Disgraced American cyclist Floyd Landis says he won the Tour de France fairly and that he's not losing sleep over a decision to strip him of his title following a positive drug test.
A defiant Landis reiterated on Tuesday earlier claims that the anti-doping watchdogs, and not him, are the ones not playing by the rules.
"I'm angry about the split decision ruling against me last week," Landis said. "I can sleep at night knowing that I won the 2006 Tour de France fair and square. I will always consider myself the rightful winner."
Landis won the 2006 Tour but tested positive for steroids during the event. That forced Landis to go to an arbitration hearing against the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Last week the arbitration panel ruled two-to-one against the San Diego-based cyclist officially stripping him of his title and slapping him with a two-year ban for using synthetic testosterone.
The verdict comes almost four months after the longest anti-doping hearing in US history, a rare public session in which Landis' lawyers questioned the chain of command from the French laboratory that handles Landis' testing.
"We have shown that the anti-doping system is corrupt, inefficient and unfair," Landis said.
"The straightforward and clear dissent in support of my case contrasts sharply with the scientifically flawed and illogical majority decision against me, not to mention the nonsensical ruling regarding when my proposed two-year suspension should start."
The Landis camp contended that accuracy and reliability of test procedures of the French AFLD lab and the competency of its findings were suspect, saying their loss showed athletes cannot win through the appeal system.
"I still have hope the system can be changed so that no other athlete has to suffer through this process," Landis wrote.
Landis said he now plans to get on with his life but did not go into details.
"Whatever the way ahead, it will be good to be moving forward with my life, and at this point I will take some time to review my options," Landis said.
The International Cycling Union, the sport's global governing body, has declared Oscar Pereiro the 2006 Tour de France champion. The Spaniard finished second, 57 seconds behind Landis.
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