Sports News

Landis begins final appeal against doping ban

Cyclist Floyd Landis testifies at an arbitration hearing in Malibu, California May 22, 2007. REUTERS/Max Morse

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American cyclist Floyd Landis makes his final appeal against a doping ban that cost him the 2006 Tour de France title at a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing starting on Wednesday.

A U.S. arbitration panel last year upheld findings by a French laboratory that Landis, 32, had used synthetic testosterone in winning the 2006 Tour.

“Floyd is happy to be moving forward and to have this opportunity to clear his name,” Landis’s attorney Maurice Suh said in a statement.

“We are confident that the evidence will prove his innocence and allow him to resume his racing career.”

The closed-doors hearing in New York for Landis, who was also banned from the sport for two years, is expected to take up to five days.

The International Cycling Union stripped Landis of his 2006 Tour de France crown after the arbitration ruling by a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) panel last September, awarding the title to Spain’s Oscar Pereiro.

Landis, who tested positive for synthetic testosterone after the penultimate stage in which he made a big comeback to reclaim the lead, has maintained his innocence, blaming procedural mistakes by the French laboratory.

Writing by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Ed Osmond