2006 Tour de France
|2006 UCI ProTour, race 17 of 27|
|Route of the 2006 Tour de France|
|Dates||July 1–July 23, 2006|
|Distance||3,657.1 km (2,272 mi)|
|Winning time||89h 40' 27" (40.789 km/h or 25.345 mph)|
|Winner||Óscar Pereiro (Spain)||(Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)|
|Second||Andreas Klöden (Germany)||(T-Mobile Team)|
|Third||Carlos Sastre (Spain)||(Team CSC)|
|Points||Robbie McEwen (Australia)||(Davitamon-Lotto)|
|Mountains||Michael Rasmussen (Denmark)||(Rabobank)|
|Youth||Damiano Cunego (Italy)||(Lampre-Fondital)|
The Tour began with a prologue in Strasbourg, on the French-German border, and ended Sunday July 23 in Paris. The distance of the course (run counterclockwise around France) was 3,657 km (2,272 mi). The race was the third fastest in average speed. Along the way, the cyclists passed through six different countries including France, The Netherlands (a stop at Valkenburg in Stage 3), Belgium (at Huy, Stages 3 and 4), Luxembourg (at Esch-sur-Alzette, Stages 2 and 3), Germany (though not stopping there, Stage 1) and Spain (Pla-de-Beret, Stage 11). The presentation of the course was made by the new director of Le Tour, Christian Prudhomme. For the first time since the 1999 edition, there was no team time trial.
The event, as with some of the Tours of the late 1990s, was marred by doping scandals. Prior to the tour, numerous riders - including the two favourites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso - were expelled from the Tour due to their link with the Operación Puerto doping case.
After the Tour, the apparent winner Floyd Landis was found to have failed a drug test after stage 17; Landis contested the result and demanded arbitration. On September 20, 2007 Landis was found guilty and suspended retroactive to January 30, 2007 and stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title making Óscar Pereiro the title holder. Landis appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which upheld the ban.
Drugs controversy before the Tour 
In the most controversial scandal since the 1998 tour, thirteen riders were expelled from the tour on the eve of Strasbourg prologue to the 93rd edition stemming from a Spanish doping scandal. Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, two favourites to win the race, were among those excluded from the Tour along with podium candidate Francisco Mancebo and 2007 champion Alberto Contador. Alexandre Vinokourov, another race favourite, was not linked to the doping scandal, but was forced to withdraw when the eligible riders on his Astana-Würth Team fell below the minimum starting requirement of six. Because of this and the retirement of then-seven-time consecutive winner Lance Armstrong, this year's Tour started without the top five riders from the 2005 edition. It was also the first Tour since 1999 that did not contain a past champion.
The initial doping controversy foreshadowed the contested outcome of the 2006 Tour involving the race leader Floyd Landis who was found guilty of doping.
Initial results 
American Floyd Landis was initially awarded the victory in the closest three-way finish in the race's history to date. Floyd's final time was 89h 39'30".
While Landis was a leading favorite even before the Spanish doping scandal came to light, in an epic eight minute loss of performance in Stage 16, it appeared he had lost all hope to finish on the podium, much less win.
But the following day, during Stage 17, Landis set a very high pace on the first climb of the day that no other rider could match. He then caught a breakaway group that had escaped earlier, passed them, and continued to the finish line solo, making up almost all of his deficit, ending up 30 seconds behind yellow jersey wearer Óscar Pereiro, which he made up with an extra minute in the final Stage 19 time trial.
However, a urine sample taken from Landis immediately after his Stage 17 win has twice tested positive for banned synthetic testosterone as well as a ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone nearly three times the limit allowed by World Anti-Doping Agency rules. Landis indicated that he would appeal the test results with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
On September 20, 2007, Landis' doping accusation was upheld by an arbitration panel deciding between him and USADA and will be banned for two years. In response to this, International Cycling Union formally stripped him of his 2006 Tour de France title. Second place finisher Óscar Pereiro was officially declared the winner. The only previous Tour de France winner to be disqualified was 1904 Tour de France winner Maurice Garin.
|P||Strasbourg||7.1 km||Individual time trial||Saturday, July 1|
|1||Strasbourg – Strasbourg||184.5 km||Flat stage||Sunday, July 2|
|2||Obernai – Esch-sur-Alzette||228.5 km||Flat stage||Monday, July 3|
|3||Esch-sur-Alzette – Valkenburg||216.5 km||Hilly stage||Tuesday, July 4|
|4||Huy – Saint-Quentin||207.0 km||Flat stage||Wednesday, July 5|
|5||Beauvais – Caen||225.0 km||Flat stage||Thursday, July 6|
|6||Lisieux – Vitré||189.0 km||Flat stage||Friday, July 7|
|7||Saint Grégoire – Rennes||52.0 km||Individual time trial||Saturday, July 8|
|8||Saint-Méen-le-Grand – Lorient||181.0 km||Flat stage||Sunday, July 9|
|Rest day||Monday, July 10|
|9||Bordeaux – Dax||169.5 km||Flat stage||Tuesday, July 11|
|10||Cambo-les-Bains – Pau||190.5 km||Mountain stage||Wednesday, July 12|
|11||Tarbes – Val d'Aran/Pla-de-Beret||206.5 km||Mountain stage||Thursday, July 13|
|12||Luchon – Carcassonne||211.5 km||Hilly stage||Friday, July 14|
|13||Béziers – Montélimar||230.0 km||Flat stage||Saturday, July 15|
|14||Montélimar – Gap||180.5 km||Hilly stage||Sunday, July 16|
|Rest day||Monday, July 17|
|15||Gap – Alpe d'Huez||187.0 km||Mountain stage||Tuesday, July 18|
|16||Le Bourg-d'Oisans – La Toussuire||182.0 km||Mountain stage||Wednesday, July 19|
|17||Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Morzine||200.5 km||Mountain stage||Thursday, July 20|
|18||Morzine – Mâcon||197.0 km||Flat stage||Friday, July 21|
|19||Le Creusot – Montceau-les-Mines||57.0 km||Individual time trial||Saturday, July 22|
|20||Antony/Parc de Sceaux - Paris (Champs-Élysées)||154.5 km||Flat stage||Sunday, July 23|
Classification leadership 
- Jersey wearers when one rider is leading two or more competitions
- In stage 1, George Hincapie wore the green jersey.
- In stage 4, Daniele Bennati wore the green jersey.
- In stage 11, Juan Miguel Mercado wore the polka-dot jersey
- Other notes
- Stage 17 was originally won by Floyd Landis, who also wore the yellow jersey on the 19th and 20th stage. After the court's decision to forfeit all his results in the 2006 Tour de France, Carlos Sastre became the winner of the 17th stage, and Cyril Dessel and Óscar Pereiro should be considered having led the general classification as shown in the table.
General classification 
Points classification 
Team classification 
|1||T-Mobile Team||269h 08' 46"|
|2||Team CSC||+ 17' 04"|
|3||Rabobank||+ 23' 26"|
|4||AG2R Prévoyance||+ 33' 19"|
|5||Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears||+ 56' 53"|
|6||Lampre-Fondital||+ 57' 37"|
|7||Team Gerolsteiner||+ 1h 45' 25"|
|8||Discovery Channel||+ 2h 19' 17"|
|9||Euskaltel-Euskadi||+ 2h 26' 38"|
|10||Phonak Hearing Systems||+ 2h 49' 06"*|
Teams and riders 
Pre-race favourites 
After the retirement of then seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, the main contenders for the overall win were expected to be Ivan Basso from Team CSC, the 2005 runner-up; and Jan Ullrich from T-Mobile Team, the third man on the podium in 2005, winner in 1997, and the only previous winner still racing. However, both Ullrich and Basso were suspended by their teams on June 30 after UCI told T-Mobile and Team CSC that the riders were involved in the anti-doping investigation in Spain.
Francisco Mancebo of the French team AG2R Prévoyance, who finished fourth last year and sixth the year before, was also suspended by his team, and subsequently announced his retirement. Alexander Vinokourov would have been the only returning rider with a top-five finish from last year's race. However, his team, Astana-Würth, was forced to pull out of the race because they would not be able to start with the minimum of six riders.
As a result of the drug scandal, many believed Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Épargne), or the Americans Floyd Landis (Phonak), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), or Australian Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) would probably win the race.
The main contenders for the podium were those who placed well on GC last year, especially if they have had notable results since:
|AG2R Prévoyance||Christophe Moreau||11th 2005, 4th 2000; 2nd 2006 Dauphiné Libéré|
|Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears||Óscar Pereiro||10th 2005, "Most combative" 2005; 14th 2006 Dauphiné Libéré|
|Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears||Alejandro Valverde||DNF 2005; 3rd 2003 Vuelta a España; 1st 2006 Liège-Bastogne-Liège; 1st 2006 La Flèche Wallonne|
|Discovery Channel||José Azevedo||5th 2004; 6th 2002; 4th 2006 Dauphiné Libéré; 5th 2001 Giro d'Italia|
|Discovery Channel||George Hincapie||14th 2005; 33rd 2004; 10th 2006 Dauphiné Libéré; only teammate to join Armstrong in all seven victories.|
|Discovery Channel||Yaroslav Popovych||12th 2005, 2005 maillot blanc; 40th 2006 Dauphiné Libéré|
|Euskaltel-Euskadi||Iban Mayo||60th 2005; 6th 2003; 15th 2006 Dauphiné Libéré; 1st 2004 Dauphiné Libéré|
|Team Gerolsteiner||Levi Leipheimer||6th 2005; 1st 2006 Dauphiné Libéré; 1st 2005 Tour of Germany|
|Lampre-Fondital||Damiano Cunego||4th 2006 Giro d'Italia; 1st 2004 Giro d'Italia|
|Phonak Hearing Systems||Floyd Landis||9th 2005; 1st 2006 Paris-Nice; 1st 2006 Tour de Georgia; 1st 2006 Amgen Tour of California; 60th 2006 Dauphiné Libéré|
|Davitamon-Lotto||Cadel Evans||8th 2005; 1st 2006 Tour de Romandie; 10th 2006 Tour of Switzerland|
|Rabobank||Denis Menchov||85th 2005; 1st 2005 Vuelta a España|
|Rabobank||Michael Rasmussen||7th 2005, 2005 King of the Mountains|
|Saunier Duval-Prodir||Gilberto Simoni||3rd 2006 Giro d'Italia; 1st 2001 and 2003 Giro d'Italia.|
The 2006 Tour also saw the return of former yellow jersey holder and three-time stage winner David Millar (Saunier Duval-Prodir) after serving a two year ban for admissions of the use of the drug EPO, which was discovered in a police search of his house before the 2004 Tour de France, in June 2004.
See also 
- Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 2009-10-09. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
- "'I am innocent,' Landis says after losing verdict". MSNBC. 2007-09-20. Archived from the original on 2007-10-05.
- "Tour de France 2006: Floyd Landis". Outside Online. Retrieved 2012-07-18.
- Macur, Juliet (2006-08-05). "Backup Sample on Landis Is Positive". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
- Larry Fine (2008-03-24). "Landis appeal hearing ends, decision expected in June". Reuters.
- "Backup Sample on Landis Is Positive". Velonews. 2007-09-20.
- "93ème Tour de France 2006" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 2009-06-10. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011.
- "United States Anti-Doping Agency vs Floyd Landis". UNITED STATES ANTI-DOPING AGENCY. 2007-09-20. Retrieved 30 December 2010. "The violation of the UCI Rules having occurred as a result of an In-Competition test will result under UCI Articles 256 and 257.2 in the automatic disqualification of the Athlete's results in the 2006 Tour de France and forfeiture of any medals, points or prizes."
- Ullrich and Basso out of Le Tour, from BBC. Retrieved June 30, 2006.
- "Bookies react quickly to Tour scandal". velonews. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2006-06-30.
- "www.cyclingnews.com presents the 92nd Tour de France". Autobus.cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 2006 Tour de France|
- Official page
- Official Tour de France press releases on Strasbourg
- 2006 Tour de France coverage on RoadCycling.com
- Press release (French)