USADA ORDERS LNDD TO DENY FLOYD LANDIS’ OBSERVER ACCESS TO “B” SAMPLE RETESTING
Retesting Conducted Without Independent Observer Oversight
New York / Paris, April 23, 2007 â€“ Under the order of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Paul Scott, expert consultant to 2006 Tour de France champion Floyd Landis and observer at the illegal retesting of Landis’ already cleared Tour de France samples, was yesterday denied entry to the Laboratoire National de Dépistage du Dopage (LNDD) at Chatenay-Malabry. As such, the analysis of two samples was conducted without a Landis representative as witness. Such behavior constitutes a clear and direct infringement of Landis’ rights while casting severe doubt on the integrity of an already dubious process.
This latest incident comes on the heels of a week in which Landis’ observers have been repeatedly and improperly restricted from accessing key phases of data processing and analysis while USADA’s expert and lawyer were able to have free lab access and directed the retesting process of LNDD.
Per the pre-arbitration process, there was to be an independent expert appointed by the arbitration panel whose role was to determine if the testing methodologies are flawed and to provide an additional degree of protection for Landis. USADA knowingly directed that the testing begin April 16 despite the fact that no such expert had been named.
According to Scott, LNDD lab director Jacques de Ceaurriz did not allow him to enter the facility Sunday morning. Ceaurriz cited direct orders from USADA to prohibit any further observation of the ongoing retesting.
During the analysis, USADA observers regularly provided specific direction to the LNDD, over-ruling the Landis observers’ objections and conferring with LNDD staff in private during sample processing. Landis and his team find this behavior to be particularly troubling as these deliberate actions confirm their position that the samples have been subject to mishandling, further malfeasance and potential results falsification.
Scott, former director of client services at the UCLA Olympic Laboratory, left UCLA last October and shortly thereafter was added as a consultant to the Landis defense team. Early on, Scott cited the poor handling of Landis’ Stage 17 sample as the primary example of the deep problems in scientific method and fact finding in this case.
Scott said, “In my years at the UCLA lab, I’ve never seen anything like what I experienced at the LNDD yesterday. The limitation placed on me and Simon [Davis â€“ an Isotope Ratio Mass Spectometry expert also selected by Landis to observe the retesting] demonstrates the lack of objectivity in this process, USADA’s interest in controlling and limiting our observation of the retesting is an example of one of the most egregious problems in the fundamental science of anti-doping that I have experienced.”
Given the indisputable conflicts and documented incompetence at the LNDD, testing Landis’ “B” samples there without witness or Panel appointed independent expert highlights USADA’s out-of-control prosecution. The outrageous and improper limitations placed on Landis’ observers reinforce the injustice inherent to this entire process. This is particularly evident in the case of this unprecedented retesting, where both USADA and the LNDD have a vested interest in colluding to corroborate the flawed results of Landis’ Stage 17 sample.
Scott added, “”Good science does not fear being an open book. Any science that is not neutral and objective is not science at all. Labs acting under the direction of prosecuting Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) are, by definition, not independent. As service providers hired by ADOs, they have a vested interest in the results desired by their client. In this case, the client is USADA and the lab is the LNDD. From what I have witnessed so far, I have significant concerns that their analysis will render results that are scientifically invalid.”
By exhausting sample material during the retesting without providing the checks and balances necessary to protect the interests of the athlete, USADA has willfully destroyed evidence that can be used to independently verify whatever results come out of the conflicted LNDD facility.
“This is yet another in a series of malicious actions by USADA that tramples my right to have my case heard in fair and just way,” said Landis. “How can I be expected to prove my innocence while USADA endeavors to break their own rules at every turn? I’m infuriated by the behavior of USADA and the LNDD. Together, they have turned this proceeding into a full-scale attack on my civil rights and a mockery of justice.”