PARIS – Tour de France champion Floyd Landis is expected to learn the results of his second doping test Saturday, and even if that sample is positive it could take weeks to decide if he will be stripped of his title.
Analysis of the "B" sample is expected to take place Thursday through Saturday at the Chatenay-Malabry lab outside Paris, the International Cycling Union said Tuesday.
If the "B" sample is negative, Landis would be cleared. If it is positive, which his lawyers expect, he could be stripped of his Tour victory and banned for two years. Landis could become the first Tour winner to lose the title in a doping case.
He will be given "due process" to defend himself before an arbitration panel — which could delay any possible penalties — if he continues to deny the allegations, UCI president Pat McQuaid said.
"It could take weeks," McQuaid told The Associated Press by telephone. If the test is confirmed, no penalties could be decided "until the disciplinary process is completed."
It could take even longer if the case goes to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Landis tested positive for an unusually high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone following the 17th stage of the Tour de France, where he staged a remarkable comeback in the Alps to make up for a poor performance the day before.
The American cyclist has insisted that his body's natural metabolism — not doping — caused the result, and said he would undergo further tests to prove it.
The New York Times reported Monday that tests on Landis' "A" sample show some of the testosterone in his system was synthetic, putting his defense into question. The report cited a person at the UCI with knowledge of the result.
McQuaid said he had not seen the lab findings, and could not confirm the news report. He and other UCI officials said the union's rule book restricts release of such information.
"It's big news, certainly, but it doesn't change the protocol," McQuaid said. "It's not our policy to give out details about such cases."
UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani insisted the results of the test are confidential and no one at the governing body would have leaked results to the Times.
The results were expected to be released Saturday morning, Carpani said. The UCI asked the French lab to speed up its analysis before it closes for the holidays, officials said.
"The longer it goes until the 'B' sample is tested, the more speculation, and the more denial and the more of everything that goes on," McQuaid said.
Landis' lawyers in Spain filed an official request for the "B" test late Monday. The UCI had already filed its own request earlier Monday because of concerns about the case dragging on.
Landis' Swiss-based team, Phonak, said it wants the results as quickly as possible.
"The sooner that's done, the better it will be for the team," said Phonak team manager John Lelangue, who declined to answer any other questions.
On Friday, Landis said he would "explain to the world why this is not a doping case but a natural occurrence."
But after determining that Landis' ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone was more than twice the limit of 4:1, the lab performed a carbon isotope ratio test on the first of Landis' two urine samples to determine whether it's natural or synthetic, the Times reported.
UCI lawyer Philippe Verbiest confirmed that an isotope test had taken place, but refused to indicate the ratio or provide any other details of the first lab test.
Oscar Pereiro of Spain, the Tour de France runner-up, would be declared the winner if Landis loses the Tour de France title.