By Susan Westemeyer
Floyd Landis has cancelled his plans to ride the Giro d'Italia in order to fully concentrate on preparing for the Tour de France, Team Phonak has announced. It was not a sudden decision, the team said, noting that Landis had been pondering the whole season "whether to stand by his decision to include the Giro in his Tour preparations for the first time."
In the last ten days he gave the decision a lot of thought before discussing it with team manager John Lelangue this past weekend in France. Landis crashed on Saturday and dropped out of the Criterium International, but the team said that this crash "had no influence on his decision."
Landis has already proven his form this season by winning the Tour of California and Paris-Nice, the team noted. His further race planning includes the Tour of Georgia and the Dauphine Libéré. In between those two races, he will check out various parts of the Tour de France course, such as the climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees, as well as the time trial courses.
Phonak will now have to come up with a new captain for the Giro, but says that even without Landis, it will have a "powerful team" in Italy, based on Victor Hugo Pena and Axel Merckx. Jose Enrique Gutierrez and Martin Elmiger are also expected to be on the team.