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Saturday, August 5, 2006
Pereiro: 'Now I consider myself the winner'

Associated Press

VIGO, Spain -- Oscar Pereiro no longer thinks of himself as runner-up in the Tour de France.

"Now I consider myself the winner," he told a press conference in his hometown on Saturday.

The Tour itself renounced Floyd Landis as its champion Saturday after the second of two urine samples tested positive for higher-than-allowable levels of testosterone. Pierre Bordry, who leads the French anti-doping council, said the samples contained synthetic testosterone, indicating that it came from an outside source.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said Landis was no longer considered champion.

Runner-up Pereiro would be the likely new winner, but Prudhomme said the decision to strip Landis of the title rests with the International Cycling Union.

Pereiro said he felt badly for Landis, whom he thought must be living the worst days of his life.

"I consider him my friend, it surprised me and hurt me to hear what had happened to him," he said.

But Pereiro said he regretted not having been able to celebrate a win properly, in Paris, wearing the winner's yellow jersey, having his photograph taken on the podium.

"I would have liked to have lived that day, it would have been the best day of my life, as a sportsman," Pereiro said.

He said riders at the Tour had undergone 400 doping tests. Landis has said he was tested nine times, and Pereiro said Saturday he went through four doping checks.

"The bad thing is that the winner should have failed," Pereiro said. "I trust Floyd, but the analysis shows he may have broken a rule. He failed an anti-doping test. If you fail the norms set, then you have to be withdrawn."