By Shane Stokes
Although assurances were given by ASO's Patrice Clerc and the UCI's Alain Rumpf at the end of October that a winner will be named for this year's Tour de France if Floyd Landis is disqualified, runner-up Oscar Pereiro has spoken of his frustration regarding the uncertainty of the situation.
Speaking on Tuesday near Pontevedresa in Northern Spain, the Spaniard said that if the 2006 Tour is ultimately left without a winner, he will refuse to attend the race next year.
"I will not go to the Tour de France if the organization leaves the first place vacant," he said today in a conference in Marín. "In that case, I will take part in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España."
Quoted on the Spanish website todociclismo.com, Pereiro appeared to lay some blame for the situation at the feud between ASO and the UCI. "I am still not the winner of the race due to a confrontation between the UCI and the Tour organizers. The French have the intention to keep the problem going until the final day of the allegations," he stated.
Pereiro also looked ahead towards the end of his career, saying that he would like to finish up with the Karpin-Galicia team. The new continental professional squad is from his home province of Galicia, giving a clear motivation for him to ride in their colors, but for now, he says it is impossible.
"Right now it is not a viable option as I need a team that will enable me to take part in the top-level races. I don't think the economic situation is a problem. But personally, I believe that I could end my career with Karpin Galicia. That is a dream of mine, at least."