Hayden Roulston, one of New Zealand’s top professional cyclists, hopes the return of Floyd Landis to the Tour of Southland won’t have a negative impact on publicity around the race. Landis contested the event with a composite team last year however has been surrounded by controversy since making damaging doping allegations against former teammates and admitting to doping himself.
With the Tour dropping back from a UCI level race to a national event this year, Roulston threw caution to the wind when Landis was announced as a member of the Orca Velo Merino team.
“I supported him coming last year but in light of his revelations and accusations I just hope he does not attract or generate any negativity for the event or for cycling,” Roulston said.
“The Powernet Tour of Southland is a fantastic event,” he said. “It’s a great race, well run and is a great opportunity for many of our domestic riders to experience a tough tour in New Zealand so it would be a real shame if he generated any negativity like he has done recently at events overseas.”
Tour of Southland race director Bruce Ross was more optimistic about Landis’ inclusion in the race, telling Stuff.co.nz: "Floyd is keen to come back and the fact that he has admitted to the crime and in effect done the time and is cleared to ride, he now wants to make a statement on the bike instead of in print."
Landis, who finished 17th in last year’s event, will be joined by New Zealanders Alex Ray, Andre de Jong and Andrew McNab as well as Australia’s Samuel Witmitz and Will Tehan on the Orca Velo Merino team. The 2010 Tour of Southland takes place on November 1-6.