- Article published:
- July 28, 2006, 00:00
- Shane Stokes
The news of Floyd Landis' "adverse analytical finding" in the Tour de France has shocked the cycling...
The news of Floyd Landis' "adverse analytical finding" in the Tour de France has shocked the cycling community world wide. The Phonak rider, who just a few days ago waved the American flag so happily on the Champs ElysÃ©es in Paris, has not yet given a statement on the positive return of his A sample on the evening of stage 17, but many reactions have been issued in the international press. It is the first time a Tour de France winner has tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance during the event.
"If the counter-analysis confirms this result, we will feel angry and sad," said the Tour de France organisation ASO in a statement. "Even if this is very painful for cycling, it does prove that the fight against doping by the Tour organisation, the teams and the sponsors is gaining ground in an irreversible manner."
Christian Prudhomme, race director of the Tour de France, said on French television, "The fight against doping is a never ending combat, a true trench war. But we're ready to fight it, because if we didn't, the culture of doping would win, and not the culture of sport." (France 3)
Koos Moerenhout, teammate of Floyd Landis at Phonak, couldn't believe the news. "Personally, I've never noticed any usage of doping products in the team. I hope that the B probe will clear up this positive test." (ANP)
Arlene Landis, the rider's mother, said in a phone interview from her home in Farmersville, Pennsylvania, on Thursday that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but "if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win. I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are. I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me." (AP)
Fourth-placed Carlos Sastre of Team CSC might make that jump onto the podium, after all. "I have a lot of respect for him, and I keep that respect until the result of the second test," he said. "But it really is very bad news." (France 3)
"It's a catastrophe, a real disaster," said Quickstep manager Patrick LefÃ©vÃ¨re. "We have to wait for the result of the counter-analysis, but most of the times it is the same as the first test. Some will never learn; these sorts of people kill the sport of cycling. They refused to let Astana start in the Tour - now, it's time that the UCI reconsider Phonak. Eight or nine positives in three years - that can't be coincidence anymore." (Sporza)
Erik Breukink, Rabobank team director: "It's a black time for cycling; this is dramatic. The Tour started badly, and now we can erase the winner, too. Was he that desperate after stage 16? It resembles an everything-or-nothing move. Actually, it doesn't surprise me that he got caught after stage 17. His ride to Morzine was exceptional." (Sporza)
Discovery Channel's team director Dirk Demol was more reluctant to jump to conclusions. "I really can't believe it. I asked myself some questions after his performance to Morzine, because I know out of experience that a bad day can be followed by an excellent day, where you don't feel pain in the legs anymore and you really transcend yourself. But let's wait for the result of the B sample." (Sporza)
"One day you shake his hand to congratulate him on the Tour victory, and on the next you're told he's positive," said CSC rider Stuart O'Grady. "If it's really true, then I don't know what to think anymore." (France 3)
His teammate Jens Voigt almost ran out of words to describe his feelings. "What shall I say? I'm shocked, horrified, disappointed, that something like this can happen again," he told the dpa.
Former pro Marcel WÃ¼st, himself a stage winner in the Tour de France, told Cyclingnews: "Shit happens..."
German Udo BÃ¶lts, who used to be Jan Ullrich's domestique at Team Telekom, is afraid that the sport is facing his biggest challenge yet. "Cycling had the noose around its neck and the Landis case pulled it tight," he told Cyclingnews.
Hans-Michael Holczer, team manager at Gerolsteiner: "It's simply nauseating. I can't think of it any other way. Maybe we should just stop all of pro cycling for six weeks, and then again for six weeks after the next doping case. I cannot understand at all why some people are destroying pro cycling." (dpa)
Christian Frommert, T-Mobile Spokesman, tried to see the bright side of things. "This is another hard blow for cycling, if the B sample upholds the A sample. But the only thing other than the sample that is positive is that it is another prominent case. Now it will be clear to absolutely everybody, that only a very hard line and a deep-reaching structural change can save cycling. The doping tests have to be improved, because now people will say: They all take something. But I refuse to believe that." (dpa)
For Rudolf Scharping, President of the German cycling federation, the message of the case was clear. "The Landis case reveals another dumb, audacious and dishonest energy, that we have to fight in cycling and all of sports. The Tour victory must be taken away, and I hope that the organiser is also able to pay all of the premiums to the legitimate first, Oscar Pereiro, and the legitimate second, Andreas KlÃ¶den. For international cycling, we have to confirm: The fight against doping and cheating will be fought with everything we have. The BDR will do its part in Germany with the teams, the sporting management, the sponsors and the race organisers. We now hope for the help of the lawgivers, who the sport can't do without." (dpa)
- Article published:
- July 28, 2006, 00:00
- Cycling News
By Shane Stokes Although he has stressed that Floyd Landis should be presumed innocent until such...
By Shane Stokes
Although he has stressed that Floyd Landis should be presumed innocent until such time as an analysis of his B sample proves his urine test was positive for excessive testosterone, UCI President Pat McQuaid has said that Thursdayâs news is of huge concern to cycling.
The Irishman said he would be very annoyed if the 2006 Tour winner was shown to have doped and promised to take serious action to step up the fight against drug use in sport.
"Floyd Landis has to be regarded as innocent until such time as the B sample confirms the result. But if that analysis is positive I will be very, very angry," he told Cyclingnews, annoyance clear in his voice. "I find it hard to believe that guys nowadays would continue to try to beat the system when the system has been proved to be working well. I would also have thought after the start of this yearâs Tour de France, with all the emphasis and the pressure on doping, that the riders would have ridden it clean."
The last time a final yellow jersey was disqualified from the race was in 1904 when defending champion Maurice Garin was stripped of his title when it was judged he had taken a train during the race, rather than completing the full route. McQuaid is under no illusions as to what the potential disqualification of Landis would mean. "It couldnât be any more serious for cycling," he admitted. "It would be a disaster for the Tour and indeed for the sport as well. The situation is intolerable. We will have to do a complete audit on the sport in the days ahead to see where we go from here.
"We will have to take some very hard decisions over the coming weeks and months, getting to the bottom of this scourge and get it cleaned up. This is now going to become a personal crusade of mine, I am determined to tackle it - we have to get rid of anyone who is doping, for once and for all."
When asked if a tougher stance could include stronger sanctions against riders, McQuaid said that the UCI was bound in some ways by the rules which are in place. "We have to remain within the WADA code. As it is, within the ProTour we already do more than that [the standard sanctions]. But as I said, I think we are going to have to do a complete audit on what the situation is within cycling at the highest level. Then make some hard decisions based on that. There are various things going around in my head at the moment and in the coming days I will be making them concrete, then we will release a statement about it."
When asked as to the likely timescale for Landisâ B analysis to come back, McQuaid said it would take a few days. "We sent out a registered letter yesterday," he said. "They [the Phonak management] would have got it today and I think they have five days to respond to that, which brings us into next Monday or Tuesday. Tuesday is a bank holiday in Switzerland so it will be Wednesday when they need to respond to us by. Then you are looking at a situation where the rider may decide that they want experts to be there, so you have to find the experts in case they want to question anything. The availability of a lab is also a factor, so in theory it could be a week or even two weeks for the B sample to be confirmed."