Floyd Landis announced on Wednesday that he would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the verdict which has cost him a two-year-ban and the 2006 Tour de France title.
Landis initially had looked likely to accept the United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA) arbitration panel?s decision that ruled he had used synthetic testosterone in the 2006 Tour.
But finally the American has opted to play his last possible card by taking the USADA decision to CAS. Having spent millions on his defence already, the 31-year-old says ?I will not stop trying to prove my innocence.?
?After much thought, I have decided to appeal my case to CAS,? Landis said in a statement. ?I want to take this opportunity to say again that I am innocent of the doping allegations against me.?
?I hope that the arbitrators of the case will fairly address the facts showing that the French laboratory made mistakes, which resulted in a false positive.?
Landis lost his Tour title after the arbitration panel ruled 2-1 against him on September 20. He is the first rider in the history of the Tour to lose the winner?s jersey for doping.
On Tuesday, the Tour had announced they would be holding a ceremony next week to give the maillot jaune to Oscar Pereiro, who finished 58 seconds behind Landis in the 2006 Tour. The UCI have also declared Pereiro the winner.
The three-person CAS panel will meet within three to six months and the hearing will almost certainly not be open to the public.
A majority of the USADA panel argued in their final report that initial testing on Landis testosterone levels – the testosterone to epitestosterone test – had not been carried out according to WADA rules. But the panel also said a second test, a carbon-isotope ratio analysis, was accurate, and had established an anti-doping rule violation.
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Floyd Landis official site: www.floydlandis.com.
Court of Arbitration for Sport: www.tas-cas.org.