Computer hacking charge leveled against disgraced Tour de France cyclist

France issues warrant for former cyclist over data-breach complaint

Cyclist Floyd Landis, stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after a positive drug test, is now being labeled a computer hacker by France, which has issued a warrant for his arrest.

The director of the lab that processed Landis's drug test said there was a data breach in 2006 that led the lab to file a formal complaint, according to a report in the New York Times. The paper reported that the complaint claimed the stolen data was used in Landis' defense against charges he used testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France before a dramatic win in Stage 17 of the race that eventually put him atop the winner's podium.

The arrest warrant, issued in January by a French judge, is in connection with that data-breach complaint. Landis would only be arrested if he enters France.

Investigators say a Trojan horse found on the lab's systems may have originated from an e-mail sent to the lab from a computer using the same Internet protocol address as Arnie Baker, Landis' then-coach and confidant, according to the Times.In a 2007 story, Baker described to Network World how he used a "wiki defense" and "crowd-sourcing" to bring visibility to Landis' fight against the charge he took performance-enhancing drugs.

Baker's intent with the wiki defense was to expose the relevant issues within the raw lab documentation from France's Labaratoire National Depistage de Dopage concerning Landis' case. Baker did that by posting lab documents on the Internet along with a slideshow focused on the salient points in the case.

Those postings happened after Landis became the first athlete in history to exercise his option with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to have a public hearing on his doping charges.

Baker told Network World he knew little about the formal definitions of social networking when he and Landis started the campaign, but what they did understand was the global reach of the Internet.

Baker and Landis have said they were not involved in any computer hacking.

After being stripped of his Tour de France title, Landis has had personal issues including the replacement of a deteriorating hip and a divorce. He also competed in some 100-mile mountain bike races and began riding domestically a year ago for the OUCH Pro Cycling team before leaving the squad at the end of last season.

When asked last year if he would ever return to racing in Europe, he told Outside magazine, "I've got plenty of good memories from those times. If the opportunity presented itself, I wouldn't dismiss it."

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Tags cyclingFranceFloyd LandisTour de France

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John Fontana

Network World
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