PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
The Phonak team have confirmed that Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is the rider who the International Cycling Union reported yesterday had failed a dope test at the Tour. In a statement on their website, Phonak also confirmed the product involved is testosterone.
"The Phonak Cycling Team was notified yesterday by the UCI of an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone ratio in the test made on Floyd Landis after stage 17 of the Tour de France," said the statement.
"The team management and the rider were both totally surprised by this physiological result. The rider will ask in the upcoming days for the counter-analysis (B sample) to prove either that this result has come from a natural process or that this is the result of a mistake." Phonak have also said that if the second sample confirms the positive test, Landis will be sacked.
Two years ago, Phonak ended the contracts of Tyler Hamilton and Santiago Perez after they tested positive for blood doping. The team have currently suspended Santiago Botero and Jos Enrique Gutierrez from competition after they were implicated in the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation.
Landis, who missed a Dutch criterium he was supposed to be headlining last night and another in Denmark today, is reported to be in Germany consulting with doctors over treatment for his hip, which is due to be replaced in an operation in the coming weeks. His Phonak team-mates Koos Moerenhout and Robert Hunter told the press in Holland Landis had been troubled by pain in his hip in recent days.
According to an Associated Press report, Landis's mother, Arlene, said that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but "if it's something worse than that, 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," Mrs Landis said from her home in Pennsylvania. "I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me."
Tour runner-up Oscar Pereiro, who is already being hailed in Spain as the Tour winner-in-waiting despite Landis still having to go through a B control on his sample from the stage finish at Morzine, was reported to be unhappy at being told the news. Pereiro said, if Landis's positive test is confirmed, it would be another huge blow to the sport.
If Landis is found to be positive in his B sample, he is sure to be stripped of the Tour title. Only once before in Tour history has the winner been stripped of the title, back in 1904 when Maurice Garin and four other top 10 finishers were disqualified for breaking the race regulations. Landis would also face a ban of four years from racing with a ProTour team.