Controversial American rider Floyd Landis will ride the PowerNet Tour of Southland in Invercargill, New Zealand at the end of the month.
We have been through this before with Floyd racing in Southland. We treat him just like any other rider.
Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone on Stage 17. He later admitted to doping at Phonak and previously in his career at US Postal, and was a key witness in the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Case against Lance Armstrong et al.
The 37 year old, who officially retired from professional cycling in the beginning of 2011, will ride for the composite Stewart Imrie Financial Services team in the iconic New Zealand tour which starts on Sunday 28 October.
Tour organiser Bruce Ross said that he has no issue with Landis riding as he has served his time.
“It doesn’t make any difference to our race,” Ross told Cycling Central.
“I have expressed my disappointment at what happened originally, and Floyd has done his stand-down time so he is eligible to race.”
In light of the recent developments surrounding USADA's case against Lance Armstrong, Ross is not worried that Landis will attract negative attention to the tour.
“We have been through this before with Floyd racing in Southland. We treat him just like any other rider.”
Landis first competed in the Tour of Southland in 2009 where he made his return to racing after serving his two-year suspension for doping. He finished 17th overall.
He again returned to the South Island the following year, lighter and fitter and rode a competitive race finishing fourth, just over three minutes behind winner Hayden Roulston.
Young Kiwi Alex Ray, who recently finished third in the NRS Shipwreck Coast Classic last weekend, will be one of five young Kiwis who will ride alongside Landis on the Stewart Imrie Financial Services team.
The PowerNet Tour of Southland begins in Invercargill on Sunday 28 October with a team time trial.