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Cyclist Floyd Landis accused of hacking into doping lab

Arrest warrant puts a brake on possible Tour return

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French authorities have issued an arrest warrant against US cyclist Floyd Landis over allegations he hacked into an anti-doping lab computer.

Landis, 34, was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title win after he tested positive for abnormal levels of testosterone. Landis appealed, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected his assertion that his positive test was due to procedural mistakes by the laboratory back in 2008.

The cyclist, who maintains his is innocent of doping offences, is now accused of hacking into Chatenay-Malabry laboratory computer systems, a new allegation he strongly denies.

"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," Landis told the Los Angeles Times. He added that he'd received no notice of the charges from the French authorities.

A French court spokeswoman explained that the warrant only covers France territories, so the arrest warrant will not lead towards any extradition request. Landis, whose two year ban following the contested tests has expired, was considering a return to the Tour de France. The arrest warrant puts a huge obstacle in the path of those ambitions.

French authorities detected attempts to hack into anti-doping lab computer systems in September 2006. Papers submitted by Landis during his failed CAS appeal against the doping result have reportedly been used as evidence of possible computer intrusion against Landis.

French reports last year alleged that data obtained from hacking into the French national lab for doping controls was forwarded to its Canadian counterpart via a computer linked to Arnie Baker, Landis's former coach

"It seems that (Landis) made all he could to enter into our computer system to try to prove the laboratory was wrong. He showed many documents he got by hacking to numerous sporting instances," French anti-doping agency head Pierre Bordry said, Reuters reports. "The judge traced a network of hackers back to the ringleader." ®

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