Landis: I've no wish to hijack world champs

Official support for conference withdrawn

Disgraced American cyclist Floyd Landis has hit out at UCI Road World Championships organisers in Australia after they withdrew support for a conference he is listed to attend.

Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for doping and earlier this year admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.

He was scheduled to speak at the New Pathways For Pro Cycling conference which takes place in Geelong, south of Melbourne, later this month on the eve of the world titles in the same town.

The meeting originally had the support of the world championships organisers but a spokesman confirmed at the weekend that they had withdrawn their backing, saying they did not want to give Landis a "soapbox".

Landis posted a statement on the conference website explaining his motives. "To be clear, I do not wish to use the conference as a soapbox, nor do I wish to hijack the world championships," he said.

"Indeed, the behaviour and comments of the persons and organisations that seek to shut down the conference as a consequence of my participation demonstrate that they are interested only in selfishly perpetuating their own positions and purported authority at the expense of progressive reform. [They have a] total disregard of the sport's long-term interests, including those of the riders and fans, which they are charged to protect.

"By offering an inside perspective of an athlete confronted with decisions regarding the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs, I hope to be able to contribute to a better understanding of how those decisions come to be made, and how athletes can be better supported by those in a position to facilitate better decisions and decision-making."

The UCI Road World Championships, which take place from 29 September to 3 October, are being held in Australia for the first time.

© AFP 2010

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