Tour de France: The shaming of a cycling superhero

Test results mean Floyd Landis will be first Tour de France winner stripped of his title

The American cyclist Floyd Landis is to be stripped of his Tour de France title after a test yesterday confirmed he had excess levels of the hormone testosterone in his body when he won the race.

The 30-year-old cyclist won last month with a heroic performance in the last and most gruelling mountain stage of the race, but now faces the humiliation of being banned from the sport for two years.

Landis, who has protested his innocence ever since the first doping test found excessive levels of testosterone, was summarily sacked by his Swiss racing team, Phonak, yesterday after the "B" sample also proved positive.

He will be the first winner of the Tour de France to be stripped of the title.

The decision to strip him of the famous "yellow jersey" worn by champions will be made officially by the International Cycling Union, but yesterday the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, said: "It goes without saying that, for us, Floyd Landis is no longer the winner of the 2006 Tour de France."

It is now expected that the Spaniard who was Landis's runner-up, Oscar Pereiro, will be declared the winner. The ruling will prove to be immensely embarrassing to the sport, which has been hit recently by a series of doping scandals involving some of the best-known teams.

Landis has insisted that the high hormone levels were "a natural occurrence", and he continued to protest his innocence. "I have never taken any banned substance, including testosterone. I was the strongest man at the Tour de France, and that is why I am the champion. I will fight these charges with the same determination and intensity that I bring to my training and racing. It is now my goal to clear my name and restore what I worked so hard to achieve."

His lawyer, Howard Jacobs, added: "In consultation with some of the leading medical and scientific experts, we will prove that Floyd Landis's victory in the 2006 Tour de France was not aided in any respect by the use of any banned substances."

The American, who returned to cycling after recovering from a broken hip in a crash three years ago, will be now referred to the United States Cycling Federation for a formal investigation for doping. That inquiry will allow Landis and his lawyers to challenge the assumption that the abnormal levels of testosterone were artificial rather than, as he insists, produced naturally by his body.

Speaking in Madrid last week, he said the testosterone was "absolutely natural and produced by my own organism".

Landis's victory - described by some as "awesome" - came after he had all but lost his leading position, effectively collapsing on day 16 of the race during a gruelling mountain stage where he was left unsupported by his team-mates. But the next day, he produced an extraordinary solo performance, outstripping the nearest rider to win the final day of the mountain stage by a remarkable six minutes.

He went on to join the small pantheon of American winners of the Tour after three-times winner Greg LeMond and seven-times champion Lance Armstrong. His 57-second winning margin in this year's tour was the sixth narrowest in Tour history.

Disgraced: Ruined by the hunger to win at all costs

JUNE 2006 One-time Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla dropped by T-Mobile, for links to a major blood doping inquiry which included 13 riders.

JUNE 2006 British sprinter Dwain Chambers loses his European gold medal, and has all his races since 2001 annulled, after admitting to using a performance drug.

JULY 2006 Justin Gatlin, US World and Olympic 100m sprinter, faces lifetime ban after tests showed high levels of testosterone.

JULY 2006 West Ham defender Shaun Newton was suspended for seven months after testing positive for cocaine.

AUGUST 2006 Gabor Dobos, Hungary's top sprinter, tests positive for high testosterone. Banned for life.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Coordinator / Office Support Administrator

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This London Bridge based estate...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Advisor - Print

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based just north of York, this ...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map