Posted: Thursday July 27, 2006 3:06PM; Updated: Thursday July 27, 2006 3:06PM
VIGO, Spain (AP) -- The Spanish cyclist who stands to become Tour de France champion if Floyd Landis is stripped of the title was in no mood to celebrate Thursday.
"Should I win the Tour now it would feel like an academic victory," Oscar Pereiro told The Associated Press. "The way to celebrate a win is in Paris, otherwise it's just a bureaucratic win."
Pereiro finished second behind Landis in the Tour, which ended Sunday.
On Thursday, Landis' Phonak team said the American tested positive for high levels of testosterone and had been suspended pending analysis of his backup sample.
If found guilty of doping, Landis likely would lose the title, with Pereiro moving up to first place.
"While I don't receive a fax confirming a win, I'm not going to celebrate anything," said Pereiro, who rides for the Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears team. "I have too much respect for Landis to do otherwise."
Pereiro said it was time to be cautious.
"It hurts a lot, it hurts for Landis and for the sport," he said. "The sport had just been recovering after what happened before the Tour began, and this just hurts it when it was beginning to get over the past."
On the eve of the race, nine riders -- including pre-race favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso -- were ousted after being implicated in a Spanish doping investigation.
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