By Kirsten Robbins in San Francisco, CA
Last year’s Tour of California winner, Floyd Landis, will leverage this year's event to hold fundraising events for the 'Floyd Fairness Fund'. The first is to be held on Sunday evening after the prologue to the 2007 event. The fund is raising money for 'athletes' rights in the anti-doping process', as well as for his own defense.
Landis’ fellow American riders were asked their thoughts on the event during the pre-race press conference. US national road champion, George Hincapie, said he didn't know much about the fundraiser but supported Landis. "Floyd is a friend of mine and I hope he can clear his name. I hope he is able to get all the help that he needs."
Race favourite from Discovery Channel, Levi Leipheimer, held a strong position in supporting Landis' quest for athletes' rights in the anti-doping process. "Landis is having a fundraiser for athletes' rights and that is something that everyone here would support one hundred percent," Leipheimer said. "There are definitely some issues that need to be resolved. One is the issue of his positive test but it is going to be a year later before he knows the decision... I think that we can all agree that is not a good time line of the process and I support him in that."
Team CSC has stepped forward in its team anti-doping measures by testing riders more frequently throughout the season. Bobby Julich expressed his fears of the anti-doping process during the press conference. "I think the reoccurring theme is that the testing procedures are being questioned," Julich said. "I myself, being a part of team CSC, we signed on to do 12 to 16 more tests on top of the four from WADA and four from USADA. That being said I have signed up for 12 to 16 more opportunities for theses tests to be flawed so I think that Floyd Landis fighting for the rights of the riders is very important. And we also need to find air proof- water proof testing procedures to make sure the outcome is one hundred percent innocent or guilty."