Floyd Landis has agreed to ride for the cyclingnzshop.com – bioSPORT Team in the 2009 PowerNet Tour of Southland.
Floyd Landis is an American cyclist from California, who currently rides for the UCI Continental OUCH Pro Cycling Team. Floyd turned professional in 1999 with the Mercury Cycling Team. He joined the US Postal Service team in 2002, and moved to the Phonak Hearing Systems team in 2005.
In 2006, Floyd won the first edition of the Tour of California, Paris Nice and the Tour de Georgia, before going on to finish first in the 2006 Tour de France. He was stripped of his Tour de France victory after a drug-control test demonstrated the presence of a skewed testosterone/epitestosterone ratio.
Floyd maintained his innocence and mounted a vigorous defence. Although Floyd's legal team documented many inconsistencies in the handling and evaluation of his urine samples, the disqualification was upheld.
All this time Floyd had been suffering from a hip ailment, osteonecrosis, which was revealed during the 2006 Tour de France. This deterioration was the result of a femoral neck fracture sustained in a crash during a training ride in October 2002.
Due to the severe pain and disability caused by the degenerative arthritis, Floyd opted for surgery but, as an alternative to traditional hip replacement, Floyd had the Smith and Nephew Birmingham Hip resurfacing procedure performed on 27 September 2006.
After serving his suspension, Floyd got back to racing in 2009 with the OUCH Presented by Maxxis Pro Cycling Team. OUCH is a Medical Center connected to the doctors who supported Floyd through the hip resurfacing surgery.
Floyd says he is doing quite well in putting his life back together: "I wouldn't wish what I've been through on anybody. It's not easy being accused of something you didn't do and having it out there for the world to see. I didn't do it, and I'll never stop saying that. But I'm not asking for sympathy. I'm not trying to make a statement or anything by coming back. I just want to race. That's when I'm happiest in life - when I'm on my bike."
It was this attitude that caused Wayne Hudson and Richard McIlraith to consider inviting Floyd to ride for a team in the Tour of Southland. "We had already formed a team of 5 riders, 4 of whom had ridden together in the 2008 Tour of Southland but a couple of weeks ago, the fifth rider switched to another team. Although we asked a number of local riders if they wanted to ride for our team, nearly all of them had made commitments to other teams that were entering the PowerNet Tour."
So, over a cup of coffee the two friends started tossing options around, and came up with Floyd. "Although it was just a long shot at first, I said to Richard, 'Well why not? All we can do is ask and if we don't ask, we'll never know whether or not he might have said yes'", said Hudson.
After making enquiries of the OUCH P/B Maxxis Pro Cycling Team, they were put in touch with Floyd's agent Scott Thomson. It didn't take much longer to reach agreement in principle. Floyd had just finished his competitive season, so was in pretty good form and Scott was confident that Floyd would rise to the occasion. "Floyd is the kind of guy who will give his best and will turn up every day to ride as hard as he can."
Hudson and McIlraith's next job was to find some title sponsors for the team, in order to off-set some of the costs of bringing Floyd to New Zealand. However, that turned out to be lot easier than expected. "We had only approached three organisations and, when we told them who we were looking to include in the team, we got an almost instant response of "we're in" from two of them.
Those two naming rights sponsors are:
· cyclingnzshop.com (www.cyclingnzshop.com), a new business which has just launched an online marketplace for the entire New Zealand cycle industry
· bioSPORT® a state-of-the-art biomechanical physiotherapy and sports conditioning practice in Auckland's CBD (www.biosport.co.nz).
The other riders in the cyclingnzshop.com - bioSPORT Team are:
v Nico de Jong (26), who works for a boutique intellectual property and technology law firm in Auckland. He has been riding competitively for two seasons, after being a "social" multisport competitor. Nico is also a former nationally ranked rock climber.
v Nick Lovegrove (28), who works full time for a corporate law firm in Auckland. Nick has raced competitively for nearly two years after making the switch from triathlon to road cycling at the start of 2008.
v Jeremy Meech (27), who works full time as a commercial intellectual property lawyer in Auckland. Jeremy has raced competitively for three seasons after switching from soccer and cricket, and has steadily progressed through the grades under the initial guidance of Gordon McCauley and more recently Karl Murray of Exceed Coaching.
v Jamie Whyte (28), one of New Zealand's leading long distance triathletes. He competes professionally overseas during the New Zealand winters and recently had his first podium finish in the international Ironman 70.3 series. Jamie has twice represented the Elite New Zealand Long Distance triathlon team at world champs.
All four riders will be competing in their second Tour of Southland.
Floyd Landis is being brought to New Zealand by Auckland lawyers and cycling enthusiasts, Wayne Hudson and Richard McIlraith.
For more information contact:
Phone (09) 308 7303
Fax (09) 308 7301
Mobile (021) 688 192