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Landis link to piracy at French drugs lab

Paris: An associate of Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, who tested positive on his way to victory in this year’s race, was reported on Tuesday to be under suspicion of hacking into the computer system at the French National Doping Testing Laboratory (LNDD) of Chatenay-Malabry near Paris.

Laboratory director Jacques de Ceaurriz confirmed that an investigation was underway after the discovery that their computer system had been accessed from outside.

The affair is being handled by Oclctic, the main national investigating body in the fight against cyber crime incidents.

“An enquiry is underway. I’m not making any comment because the incident is probably linked to affairs currently being handled by the laboratory,” De Ceaurriz said.

“We have been aware of this for some time and in the past week our suspicions have been confirmed,” he added.

According to a French sports daily, Oclctic have identified an alleged suspect based on e-mails and letters sent by the individual, who is reported to be close to Landis, citing internal documents to condemn testing errors by the laboratory.

Landis has protested his innocence since testing positive for testosterone during stage 17 of this year’s Tour de France following a test carried out at the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory.

The correspondence include a letter written in poor French, accompanied by internal documents from the laboratory, which were taken out of context, and were supposed to prove that the LNDD regularly makes mistakes.

The correspondence, dated September, were addressed to sporting bodies and foreign laboratories, including one in Montreal, which alerted the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and the LNDD at the end of October.

Landis and his entourage have in the past several months launched an internet campaign to discredit the French lab.

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has also criticised the laboratory after a leaked document to in 2005 reported that the American’s use of the illegal blood booster Epo (Erythropoeitin) was revealed in tests by the French laboratory of frozen urine samples taken during the 1999 Tour. (AFP)

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