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 Elysées 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 Lefévère. "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 Wüst, himself a stage winner in the Tour de France, told Cyclingnews: "Shit happens..."
German Udo Bölts, 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 Klöden. 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)