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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Pereiro playing down title hopes
Spain's Oscar Pereiro
Pereiro missed the World Road Cycling Championships last month
Spaniard Oscar Pereiro admits he does not feel like the Tour de France champion despite Floyd Landis' positive drugs test during this year's race.

Pereiro was beaten into second by the American back in July and will be crowned champion if Landis is stripped of his title.

But he said: "I am not considering myself as the Tour de France winner."

Meanwhile, the Tour's chief organiser hopes the sport will beat the drugs cheats despite this year's problems.

"I have often said doping was cycling's number one problem," said Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) chief executive Patrice Clerc at the launch of next year's route.

"I'm not pleased for being right about this but I feel that the succession of doping scandals in 2006 carries some hope.

I am not considering myself as the Tour de France winner - for now, it's Floyd

Oscar Pereiro

"In that fight against doping, cycling has scored points.

"Cheats will find it harder and harder to get away with it. The fight against doping is everyone's fight and the foolish mistake of one rider does not change everything."

Landis tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone after winning stage 17.

The former Phonak rider, who has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, claims there were a host of inconsistencies in the paperwork and results provided by the laboratory testing his sample.

And he aims to prove his innocence at an American Arbitration Association hearing next year.

If the appeal fails, Landis will be stripped of his title and banned for two years.

But Pereiro, who rides with the Caisse d'Epargne team, said: "In the statutes, Floyd is still the winner. So for now, it's Floyd, not me.

"People want me to say what I can't say. At this time, I am the Tour runner-up."



SEE ALSO
Landis blames testing procedure
08 Aug 06 |  Cycling
I am the Tour champion - Pereiro
05 Aug 06 |  Cycling
Landis sample 'well above limit'
02 Aug 06 |  Cycling
Landis gives positive drugs test
27 Jul 06 |  Cycling
Awesome Landis takes Tour crown
23 Jul 06 |  Cycling


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