- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 29, 2006

DUBLIN (AP) — The president of the world governing body for cycling pledged yesterday he would wage “a crusade against doping” after Tour de France winner Floyd Landis tested positive for elevated levels of performance-enhancing testosterone.

Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union, cautioned that while Landis’ first urine sample tested suspiciously positive with the substance, “we have to wait for the B sample before we can start the sanctioning process.”

He said the backup sample would likely be tested in one to two weeks, with Landis likely to appear at the French national doping laboratory for the analysis.

“He doesn’t have to, he can send lawyers or experts, but nine times out of 10 a rider shows up as well so he can see the process,” McQuaid said.

McQuaid agreed with a suggestion that the cloud of suspicion over Floyd was the worst possible outcome for this year’s Tour, the premier event in international cycling.

“I would certainly say so, to have the winner of our major event declared positive,” McQuaid, an Irishman appointed to the post last year, said in a phone interview.

McQuaid said he was disgusted with the way drug accusations overshadowed this year’s Tour de France — and promised within the next few weeks he would unveil “a crusade against doping” to ensure it didn’t happen again. He declined to discuss specifics of his plans.

“Whatever decisions we have to take, we will take to gain the upper ground against these guys,” he said.

“There’s no doubt, I’m very angered by this,” he said of the news regarding Landis.

He also said he was upset by the suspension on the eve of the Tour of nine riders, including two favorites, Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso.

“The cycling world cannot accept — it’s completely impossible — to have a small circle of guys who are willing to risk anything in this way,” McQuaid said.

When asked whether he was confident that those using performance-enhancing drugs was a relatively small number, he said: “I would be confident it’s a small number of guys, yes.”

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