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Merckx believes Landis

By:
Laura Weislo and Jeff Jones
Published:
October 07, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 23:31 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News for October 7, 2006

Eddy Merckx, who has long kept silent on the matter of 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis'...

Eddy Merckx, who has long kept silent on the matter of 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis' positive drugs test, has told Het Laatste Nieuws that he feels the matter is a mistake. Because his son Axel was part of the now defunct Phonak squad with Landis, Merckx was frequently questioned about the issue, but refused to comment until now. He told the Belgian newspaper, "I don't believe that he took anything illegal. Landis did only what he had to. I don't know for sure, of course, because I wasn't there. But for me it [the affair] remains a mistake."

Merckx feels that cycling takes an unfairly large burden when it comes to the anti-doping cause. "There are many more controls in cycling than in all other sports. No wonder that there are people caught. The doping controls are the strictest and most frequent in the world. But one thing must be certain: you can't be a great athlete if you use dope. " He went on to express his optimism for the future of the sport, saying "Cycling is a sport of the people. As long as we keep using the bicycle - and tell me, who doesn't do that? - the sport will continue to exist."

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