The Biggest TdF Scandals: 2006—Le Tour de Dope

Forget about the doping. These ten scandals rocked cycling to its core.

Floyd Landis went on to win the but was later disqualified for

Floyd Landis went on to win the 2006 Tour de France, but was later disqualified for doping.     Photo: Dodo/Flickr

Seventeen years on from the Festina Affair, if anyone had hoped cycling had made progress regarding its problems with banned substances they were in for a rude awakening. The 2006 Tour de France was bookended with doping scandals.

Beginning in May, a Spanish police investigation dubbed Operación Puerto uncovered an alleged massive doping ring involving several top cyclists. Due to the unfolding investigation, on the eve of the Tour’s start in Strasbourg, nine riders with ties to Puerto were kicked off the start list, including the 2005 edition’s 2nd through 5th place finishers: Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Francisco Mancebo, and Alexandre Vinokourov (2005 “winner” Lance Armstrong had retired).

Once underway, the Tour was enthralling, with American Floyd Landis eking out a victory in an excruciatingly tight three-way battle with Spaniard Oscar Pereiro and German Andreas Kloden. Landis wore yellow into Paris, but his victory celebration was short, as four days after the Tour wrapped up it was announced that his urine sample following his epic win on stage 17 had tested positive for banned synthetic testosterone. Landis claimed innocence, but after exhausting the appeals process his title was stripped in September 2007.

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