American cyclist out of Tour of Southland
Tour of Southland
Embattled United States rider Floyd Landis has had to withdraw from the Tour of Southland as the controversy around the Lance Armstrong scandal continues to rock cycling.
Landis, who became the first Tour de France winner to be stripped of his title after testing positing for testosterone following his 2006 victory, was one of the central figures in the case against Armstrong.
Auckland lawyer Wayne Hudson, who along with fellow cycling enthusiast Richard McIlwraith was instrumental in bringing Landis to the Tour of Southland in 2009 and 2010, said Landis had become embroiled in a series of legal battles and was under enormous pressure at the moment.
''He's desperately sorry he can't come down, he's embarrased to admit at having to say 'I can't come','' Hudson said.
Landis, who was to have ridden under the Stewart Imrie Financial Services banner in Southland, emailed Hudson and McIlwraith this morning to tell them he could no longer make it to New Zealand.
The Tour of Southland gets underway with a prologue team time trial around Queens Park 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 had said he was in good form and was hoping to improve on his fourth-placed finishat the Southland tour in 2010.
A former team mate of Armstrong during three of his Tour de France victories, Landis sent a series of emails to cycling officials in 2010, detailing his own drug use and implicating Armstrong.
UCI president Pat McQuaid this week laballed Landis and fellow whistleblower Tyler Hamilton as ''scumbags'' because of the damage they had done to cycling.
- © Fairfax NZ News