Floyd Landis has paid tribute to his former Phonak team, which announced that it was bowing out of cycling yesterday as a result of Landis' doping affair. When the news was confirmed that Landis was positive for a high T:E ratio during the Tour de France, he was fired from the team in accordance with their rules. But in an open letter to the team and staff posted on floydlandis.com, the man at the centre of the affair said that he respected Phonak's decision.
Landis wrote, "With the dedication and support of the entire team and staff, we overcame impossible odds to make the 2006 Tour de France one of the most exciting races in its history. When the race arrived in Paris on the final day, we had the Yellow Jersey...It makes me happy to have won the Tour with and for Phonak.
"While the recent allegations against me hurt us all, I respect the fact that the Phonak team must follow its own rules and charter under these circumstances. I just wish that all the parties involved would do the same. Despite this, I will not relent on my pursuit of the truth. I will not shy away from this fight.
"Most of all, I understand that this situation impacts families and friends other than my own. It affects the businesses and sponsors that support cycling as well as the sport itself. It is for this reason that I am determined to show that I followed the rules and won fairly and cleanly. There is a greater integrity at stake here than just my own."
Landis, who is determined to prove his innocence in this case, signed off with, "Floyd Landis, 2006 Tour de France Champion".