New York: Lance Armstrong believes an American jury surely would have ruled in favour of Floyd Landis, unlike the arbitrators who found him guilty of doping.

The seven-time Tour de France winner lamented the consequences of the panel disregarding “shoddy” lab work in his first public comments about last month’s decision to ban Landis for two years and strip him of his 2006 Tour de France title.

“I didn’t follow Floyd’s case that much, but I will tell you, if that’s a jury trial in the United States of America, with eight or 10 or 12 of our fellow citizens, you get off every time. Not that you get off, but you’re vindicated,” Armstrong said on Tuesday while promoting a new line of Nike apparel that supports his Livestrong campaign to fight cancer.

Armstrong, who has endured doping accusations throughout his career, has criticised the French lab where Landis’ tests were conducted.

Although the arbitrators faulted the lab’s practices in their ruling and warned that future errors could result in the dismissal of a positive finding, the panel still upheld Landis’ positive doping test.

“When you are giving someone the death penalty, which they essentially did, you cannot tolerate shoddy work, which they clearly did,” Armstrong said. “I don’t understand that type of rationale. I don’t understand the verdict.”

“It’s tough for Floyd; it’s tough for cycling. But at the same time, it’s also really tough and unfortunate for the fans of all athletes.

You never know when you’re in that position, when an athlete’s in that position, and you want to make sure that everything’s done right.”

Armstrong conceded that cycling is going through a “tough period.”

“But I think all of sport is going through a tough time,” he said. “You can look at cycling and say, ’Oh, they’re all cheaters.’ But you know what? You can look at the McLaren Formula One team and say they’re cheaters.”

Last month, McLaren was fined $100 million for spying on rival Ferrari. — AP

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