JOHN KEKIS, AP Sports Writer TANNERSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) Floyd Landis was back on the pedals Friday, receiving a warm greeting as he competed in the first stage of the Tour of the Catskills in upstate New York.
Floyd Landis sprints to the finish line after racing a 2.3-mile time trial section during the Tour of the Catskills cycling race in Tannersville, N.Y., Friday, July 30, 2010. Landis finished in 9th place with a time of 6.59.91-minutes (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Wearing the jersey of Farm Team, a developmental cycling club north of Albany, N.Y., Landis raced in a 2.19-mile time trial uphill against about 100 professional cyclists. He finished ninth in 6 minutes, 59.91 seconds, 24 seconds behind stage winner Aurelien Passeron of France.
“We’re excited to have him here,” race organizer Dieter Drake said. “He’s clearly the biggest name we’ve had. The reaction has been mostly positive. We’ve had e-mails from people saying they’re glad he’s back racing and still active, glad he’s not giving up on it.”
Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for doping and admitted this spring to using drugs to gain a competitive edge. He also has made doping claims against seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong.
Landis’ admission has sparked a federal investigation into cheating in pro cycling, and prosecutors have subpoenaed documents from a 2004 case in which a company tried to prove Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs.
Floyd Landis, center, waits at the starting line to race a 2.3-mile time trial section during the Tour of the Catskills cycling race in Tannersville, N.Y., Friday, July 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Armstrong has denied using such drugs and has never tested positive.
Landis wouldn’t talk about the case Friday. He received a round of applause when he was introduced, and several spectators shouted “Go, Floyd!” as he prepared to round the first turn of the stage. Another lone spectator halfway up the hill yelled “Go, Floyd!” as he made his way toward the finish line on a sunny day.
“It’s cool (that Landis is here),” said Kristin Gohr of Reading, Mass., who was competing in the women’s race. “I guess he’s starting to get back into it. I don’t know why he ratted Lance out, though.”
The Tour continues Saturday and Sunday with roughly 80-mile stages each day.