FORMER drugs cheat Floyd Landis has withdrawn from the Tour of Southland as the Lance Armstrong controversy continues to plague the sport.
Landis was the first Tour de France winner to lose his title after testing positive for testosterone after his 2006 win, and a main figure in the case against Armstrong, who himself was recently stripped of his seven tour wins.
Landis had previously raced the Southland tour in 2009 and 2010, but was now caught up in a series of legal battles and was under massive pressure.
“He’s desperately sorry he can’t come down, he’s embarrassed to admit at having to say ‘I can’t come’,” Auckland lawyer Wayne Hudson, who along with Richard McIlwraith helped bring him to New Zealand, told Fairfax NZ.
He was to have ridden under the Stewart Imrie Financial Services banner in Southland, but contacted the pair to say he couldn’t come.
The race begins with a prologue time trial on Sunday.
”Really I think that Floyd was going to be a bit of a distraction this time around and when the meltdown happened, and it was so rapid, Floyd just got caught in it all. His life is completely submerged in this meltdown,” Hudson said.
Landis finished fourth in 2010 and was in good form this time around.
In 2010 he sent a series of emails to cycling officials, detailing his own drug use and spilling the beans on Armstrong.
UCI president Pat McQuaid this week labelled Landis and fellow whistle-blower Tyler Hamilton as ”scumbags” because of the damage they had done to cycling.