Tour 2006 winner Landis guilty of doping

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Paris, Sep 21: Floyd Landis, who tested positive for the banned male hormone testosterone during his 2006 Tour de France triumph, has been found guilty of doping by a US arbitration panel.

''He has been found guilty. It proves that the system works no matter who you are,'' Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), told Reuters by telephone today.

Landis said in a statement: ''This ruling is a blow to athletes and cyclists everywhere.

''For the Panel to find in favour of USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) when, with respect to so many issues, USADA did not manage to prove even the most basic parts of their case shows that this system is fundamentally flawed. I am innocent, and we proved I am innocent,'' the 31-year-old added.

McQuaid said that Spaniard Oscar Pereiro, who finished second to Landis in 2006, would be the winner of the race.

''Under our regulations, Oscar Pereiro will be declared the winner of the 2006 Tour de France,'' said McQuaid.

Three arbitration experts decided Landis had injected himself with testosterone after lengthy deliberations following a USADA hearing in May.

Landis now faces a two-year ban from the sport.

However, the American can still take the matter before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Landis tested positive for elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels after his victory on stage 17 of last year's Tour. Testosterone can speed up recovery after exercise and generally improves stamina and strength.

Reuters>

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