There was universal shock and dismay following news that Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is the rider behind the A sample. Here is a sampling of reactions from key players in the sport:
Jonathan Vaughters, ex-pro, CEO of Slipsteam Sports and manager of the TIAA-CREF, to VeloNews
I believe Floyd is innocent. The majority of T/E tests are over-turned at the CAS level. The guy will probably be proven innocent in eight months time, but in the short-term, the media is killing him. Floyd is basically paying for the sins of all the morons who came before him, who have denied, denied, denied. He’s going to take the fall for everyone who has cried wolf before him. He’s going to be the guy who gets his head cut off and that’s a real tragedy.
Oscar Pereiro, 2nd place overall in Tour, to Spanish television
Right now we only know what’s been in the media, but I don’t want to be named the winner of the Tour de France in this manner. I would prefer to stay in second place. If it comes to that, everyone loses. Cycling loses, the Tour loses and my friend loses everything. That’s not just.
Greg LeMond, three-time Tour de France winner, to L’Equipe
This news destroys me. I am sure that Floyd Landis and his family are deeply saddened by all that. Floyd is not a bad guy. He is victim of a sport that is corrupted. It seemed that this Tour was one of the cleanest. But it looks like it wasn’t 100 percent. There will always be someone who will not comply with the rules. I wanted to believe that Floyd wasn’t one of these.
Pat McQuaid, UCI president, to The London Times
If the test is confirmed we will need to carry out a complete audit of the sport, from top to bottom and take some tough decisions. Given the testing that we now have in place, I can’t believe that individuals take chances like this. If you look at the litany of events this year — not just this but before the Tour, then we just can’t take it any more. There are no more excuses.
Juan Fernández, sport director, Phonak, to Europa Press
I am surprised and frustrated. It’s bad news. After 22 days of work it’s obvious that it’s all been for nothing. We can only hope the counter-analysis can change the result. If not, he should be expelled. … The things are the way they are. I don’t trust and I won’t let myself trust anyone. I am beaten. It’s come out positive and I don’t believe and I won’t let myself believe anymore.
Arlene Landis, his mother to The Associated Press
If it’s something worse than (pain medication), then he doesn’t deserve to win. I didn’t talk to him since that hit the fan, but I’m keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are. I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I’m not going to jump to conclusions … It disappoints me.
Tour de France organization communiqué
If the counter-analysis confirms the first result, it is with anger and sadness that would dominate the emotions of all those who were filled with enthusiasm from the 2006 Tour. Now more than ever, the organizers will maintain the attitude of firmness that they have displayed since Strasbourg. No matter how harrowing this news is for cycling, it nevertheless illustrates that the fight against doping by the Tour de France together with the teams and the sponsors is gaining ground in an irreversible way.
Dirk Demol, sport director Discovery Channel, to AFP
I cannot truly believe that Landis positive. I never imagined anything behind his exploit (to Morzine). As an ex-pro, I know you can have a good day after a bad day and the legs can come back and succeed again. Be careful. The counter-analysis is not yet positive and we shouldn’t draw too fast of a conclusion.
Hendrik Redant, sport director Davitamon-Lotto, to AFP
I was hoping all this would wash out, but if it was confirmed by his team, there is little hope for good news. The comeback of Landis was phenomenal, but not that unusual. Riders often find courage in adversity. If it’s related to doping, then the verdict should be without pity. If someone dirties cycling they should know what’s coming.
Víctor Cordero, director of Vuelta a España, to Europa Press
There are black months and this is one of them. We were all on our feet once again and now we’ve been thrown back onto our knees. There are no words, this is something terrible, above all else for those who have rediscovered the allusion for this sport. The public had returned to appreciate cycling as a sport of resistance, where attacks and collapses are produced, where man returns to being human, not some sort of robot, but it’s obvious that some are using illicit methods and that there are cheaters.