February 19, 2010
Cyclist is in trouble yet againRemember when cyclist Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 victory of the Tour de France because of his "iron-rich blood?" The French sure do, and now they think he might have broken into the computer system that held the results of his drug test.
An international warrant has been issued by Judge Thomas Cassuto of France for the arrest of American cyclist Floyd Landis, resulting from Landis' failure to appear in court.
Cassuto believes Landis hacked into the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory computer system which preformed the drug testing after the 2006 Tour de France in an attempt to alter the results in defense of his victory.
This bizarre accusation of Landis has, and will, continue to shock the cycling world as well as the sporting world as a whole. After the 34-year-old American cyclist provided a drug-control test which demonstrated abnormally elevated testosterone levels, Landis was fired from the Phonak Cycling team, disgraced and stripped of his '06 Tour title as he attempted to falsely defend himself.
"French Judge Cassuto from the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Nanterre informed us that he had issued an international arrest warrant on Jan. 28 against Floyd Landis, who tested positive for banned testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, after our laboratory computer system was hacked," anti-doping head Pierre Bordry said.
"It seems Landis made all he could to enter into our computer system to try to prove the laboratory was wrong. The judge traced a network of hackers back to the ringleader," Bordry added.
Landis on Monday denied he hacked anything and said no one has served any warrant against him, though he wasn't sure whether his former coach, Arnie Baker, had received one. It was allegedly a computer registered to Baker that is associated with the case.
Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said: "Obviously, the French believe they have sufficient evidence to ask Floyd to appear before them. It was a serious breach of security in a high-profile situation. Hopefully, French law enforcement can get to the bottom of it. Somebody hacked the lab and whoever did violate the law."
What this means for Landis exactly has yet to be clarified. An international arrest warrant essentially places him on Interpol's wanted list and begins the process for possible extradition to France.
Although the offense leading to the warrant is being expedited at an extremely rapid rate, it is highly unlikely that authorities are going to begin a "man hunt" for Landis, kicking down doors, and searching every possible hideout in pursuit of their fugitive.
Nevertheless, the arrest warrant could hinder the cyclist's future plans. After his suspension expired last year and he started participating in local races again, most recently this past weekend in Phoenix, Landis mentioned that he was considering whether to make a comeback to the Tour de France or not. The rider is currently without a team and intends to race only domestically this year.
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