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In spite of the confirmation that Floyd Landis has indeed tested positive for testosterone use at the Tour de France, the International Cycling Union will still recognise the American as the winner of that race until it receives notice of any penalty against Landis from the US federation. This rather puts a damper on Tour runner-up Oscar Pereiro's assertions that he now regards himself as the Tour champion.
"Until he is found guilty or admits his guilt, he will keep the yellow jersey," said the UCI's legal chief Philippe Verbiest. The US federation is not likely to announce details of any potential sanction against Landis until it receives a recommendation on the case from the US Anti-Doping Agency. This is expected to take as long as four weeks to arrive.
Although the UCI still regard Landis as the Tour winner, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has asserted that Landis "no longer is the winner of the 2006 Tour". Prudhomme, who has now taken sole control of the Tour following the retirement of Jean-Marie Leblanc stated over the weekend that "logically Oscar Pereiro ought to be regarded as the winner now, but this depends formally on the UCI and the US federation".
Prudhomme admitted it could even be several months before Landis's case is decided, recalling the length of time it took before Roberto Heras was stripped of the 2005 Vuelta a Espa¤a title after he tested positive for EPO. Similarly, it was 15 months before Tyler Hamilton's positive test for blood doping was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Pereiro, meanwhile, told the Spanish press on Sunday that he "feels" like the Tour winner. "I am just waiting for an official fax to tell me that I've won the Tour de France," said Pereiro. "Then I would like there to be some kind of official handover of the yellow jersey, I might have to go to Paris for that," he told L'Equipe.
The Spaniard did admit, though, he is aware it could be month before any such ceremony takes place, if it does at all. Asked if he was disappointed at not receiving the yellow jersey on the Champs Elyses two weeks ago, Pereiro responded: "I would have liked that. it is a disappointment. When you win the Tour the best day of all is the last one, with the winner's party. For that reason I'm not happy with Landis. But that's life."
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