French judge issues warrant for Floyd Landis in hacking case;
Landis responds

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Here we go again.

The head of France's anti-doping agency says that a French judge has issued an international arrest warrant for Floyd Landis in a computer hacking case at the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory.

That's the lab that found elevated levels of testosterone in Landis's samples during the 2006 Tour de France and eventually led to his two-year banishment from professional cycling.

Not accused

Landis is not being accused of hacking into the computers at the lab, according to what I've read. The judge, Thomas Cassuto, does want to question Landis about how allegedly hacked files ended up being used in his defense, though. 

The judge also issued a warrant for Landis's physician and coach, Arnie Barker, who also was a member of Landis's defense team.

Anti-doping chief Pierre Bordry says that Landis used hacked files from the lab in an attempt to prove at an administrative hearing that his samples and tests were mishandled. “That's how we discovered the whole scheme,” he said. That hearing was in May 2007.

Bordry said Landis did not respond to a summons issued by the judge last November; the arrest warrant was issued Jan 28.

Update: Landis response

In an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, Landis wrote:

“I can't speak for Arnie, but no attempt has been made to formally contact me. It appears to be another case of fabricated evidence by a French lab who is still upset a United States citizen believed he should have the right to face his accusers and defend himself. …

“But certainly I hope it's not lost on anyone that it is a grand admission to having substandard computers at their self-proclaimed 'nation's best lab'. “

Earlier hacking reports

Back in November 2006, before any hearings in the Landis case, Bordry said the central e-mail server at the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory had been compromised. Several e-mails faked to look like they came from the lab had been sent out to UCI, WADA and the IOC concerning the Landis case.

CyclingNews reported at the time that:

“Attached to these e-mails were excerpts of internal documents concerning rectifications that had been made during previous testing process, but taken out of context.”

Some of Landis's defense was based on charges that the lab mishandled the Landis samples. The lab even admitted to making an administrative error on one of the B samples.

In 2006, the lab disclosed hundreds of pages of documents to the Landis defense team, which immediately posted it online in it's so-called wiki defense. Supporters wrote in to suggest short-comings and flaws in the evidence and testing methods.

Landis lost his administrative hearing and appeal in 2007 and was banned from pro cycling until 2009 when he returned with Team OUCH. He quit that team at the end of the year.

Regardless of which side you take in this issue, and it seems that many are taking sides, there's quite a spirited discussion at VeloNews.

That photo above was snapped at a book signing trip Landis made to Seattle in 2007.

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