The world championships organising committee has withdrawn its support for a conference in Geelong on the eve of the race that will discuss doping in cycling due to the fact that Floyd Landis will be in attendance. Landis’ participation in Deakin University’s New Pathways for Professional Cycling conference was confirmed this week.
“Providing Floyd Landis with a soapbox to deliver a tirade like he did on the eve of the Tour of California is not something the world championship organisers want," Melbourne 2010 media director David Culbert told the Herald Sun. “The official imprimatur of the organising committee has been withdrawn.”
In May, Landis made allegations of systematic doping at the US Postal Service team ahead of the Tour of California. He is expected to take part in a panel discussion at the conference at Geelong in the week of the world championships. Other speakers include Biological Passport panel member and anti-doping researcher Dr. Michael Ashenden and Carlos Arribas, the Spanish journalist instrumental in breaking the story of Operacion Puerto.
“We believe the conference and the whole discussion around doping in sport – and particularly cycling – is worthwhile,” Culbert continued. “But we believe it is inappropriate to have Floyd Landis attend the world championships, particularly when the federal investigation in the US into his allegation is still on-going.”
Conference organiser Martin Hardie has defended Landis’ presence at the event and pointed out that the conference is forum for an open discussion of cycling’s doping problems and the sport’s future direction.
“We’ve invited people throughout the cycling world to an open forum without retribution and recrimination,” he said. “There’s still an open invitation for every one to attend the conference.”
Hardie also stated that the withdrawal of the Worlds organising committee’s support would not affect the make-up of the conference. “I expect Floyd to be there,” he said.
The conference takes place at Deakin University’s Waterfront Campus in Geelong on September 27 and 28 and will also see the presentation of a report entitled “I wish I was Twenty One Today” – Beyond Doping in the Australian Peloton, authored by Hardie and his colleagues David Shilbury, Ianto Ware and Claudio Bozzi.