Landis leaves OUCH to return to European racing
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Landis leaves OUCH to return to European racing

by Conal Andrews at 5:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

2006 Paris-Nice winner Floyd Landis has set his sights on a return to European racing in 2010 and, as a result, the Farmersville native has decided to part ways with the OUCH team.

Landis returned to racing this year following a lengthy ban, joining the team which was previously backed by Healthnet and Maxis. In 2009 the sponsorship of the squad saw longtime Landis supporter and physician Dr. Brent Kay plus the OUCH Sports Medical Center (of which Kay is co-founder and executive director) take over from Healthnet. Maxxis remained on board.

Today’s announcement confirmed that the management company and the rider had decided to head in different directions. “Momentum Sports Group (MSG) and Floyd Landis have mutually agreed to terminate Landis’ Rider Agreement,” it read. “[It will] thereby release both Landis and MSG from their respective obligations under the Rider Agreement for the remainder of the 2009 and 2010 racing seasons.”

Velonation understands that OUCH will no longer remain involved, and that a new title sponsor will take over.

Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone in the 2006 Tour de France and was disqualified from the race victory. He served a two years suspension and also underwent a hip resurfacing procedure in the OUCH Medical Center.

While he helped his team-mates to success in Nature Valley Grand Prix, The Tour of Elk Grove and the Joe Martin Stage Races, he was far off his previous standard. However, indications are that he is fully motivated to step it up a level in the year ahead.

“For the 2010 season, Landis expressed to MSG that he desires to ride the longer, tougher stage races offered in Europe and internationally that better suit his strengths,” the release stated. “Accordingly, given that MSG will be focusing its 2010 racing season primarily in the United States, MSG and Landis mutually agreed that it would be best for both parties to part ways at this time and allow Landis to seek a position with a team that could better accommodate his desires.”

Landis has long been rumoured as being in talks with the Rock Racing team. The squad has however faced financial difficulties this year and so it is as yet uncertain as to whether he is heading there or elsewhere. Today’s announcement did little to clarify that, with Landis deferring mention of his intended team.

“I wish to thank all of the sponsors for their support this year,” he said. “I would also like to thank everyone at Momentum Sports Group. While I’m excited to pursue other opportunities, I will miss all of my teammates and everyone on staff.”

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