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Arrest warrant issued in France for cyclist Floyd Landis

PARIS - A French judge has issued a national arrest warrant for U.S. cyclist Floyd Landis in connection with a case of data hacking at a doping laboratory, a prosecutor's office said Monday.

Thomas Cassuto, the judge who is based in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, is seeking to question Landis about computer hacking dating to September 2006 at the Chatenay-Malabry lab, said Astrid Granoux, spokeswoman for Nanterre's prosecutor's office. The laboratory had uncovered abnormally elevated testosterone levels in Landis' samples collected in the run-up to his 2006 Tour de France victory, leading to the eventual loss of his medal.

Cassuto also issued a national warrant for Arnie Baker, a retired doctor and longtime Landis coach and adviser, the prosecutor's office said.

Landis denied the hacking allegations in an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times on Monday and said no warrant has been served against him. He said he wasn't sure if Baker had received a warrant.

"I can't speak for Arnie, but no attempt has been made to formally contact me," Landis said in the e-mail. "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."

Earlier yesterday, France's anti-doping chief, Pierre Bordry, mistakenly described the arrest warrant as international. Granoux stressed that the warrant is applicable only on French soil.

Landis challenged the drug test results before an arbitration hearing in California - claiming that computer files were mishandled and erased - but he was stripped of his Tour de France title and banned for two years.

New York Sports