The Tour de France -- 2,200 miles, 21 stages -- usually ends with one man, in Paris, in triumph. But for American winner Floyd Landis, his victorious moment in 2006 would be just the beginning of an ordeal and a defense of disgrace.
"It wouldn't serve any purpose for me to cheat and with the Tour because wouldn't be proud of it," Landis said.
It is old news, by now, that Landis lost his title after testing positive for high levels of testosterone and was banned from cycling for two years.
All along, he has insisted he did nothing wrong. But now, a new blow; a French judge has issued an arrest warrant in connection with a computer hacking case.
"It appears to be another case of fabricated evidence by a French lab who is still upset a United States citizen believed he should have the right to face his accusers and defend himself," Landis said Monday, in an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times.
"If we had one governing body controlling everything we could get down to the truth," professional cyclist Freddie Rodriguez said.
Rodiguez is a professional cyclist who knows Landis. He blames part of this problem on rivalries between international cycling groups.
As racers see it, the testing is both a blessing, because it encourages fairness, but also a curse, because it makes the sport look bad. The truth, they say, is that cyclists are tested more. As the result, there are more likely to find violations.
"NFL, NBA, Golf, tennis, we all need to follow the same rules," Rodriguez said. "We drive cars, we know to stop at red lights, but on one sport, the red light is different than in the other."
In an e-mail Monday, Landis said that he had no idea why the French would choose to pursue these charges after so much time has passed.