Controversial American cyclist Floyd Landis, stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title after failing a doping test, is a confirmed starter in the Tour of Southland next month.

Landis would compete as part of the team, Tour of Southland race director Bruce Ross told NZPA today.

His entry was confirmed today. team manager Wayne Hudson said the decision to approach Landis came about two weeks ago, when one of their original lineup for the Southland tour switched to another team.

"Although we asked a number of local riders to ride for our team, nearly all of them had already committed to other teams for the tour," Hudson said.

He admitted it had been a long shot to ask Landis.

"We thought, `why not?' All we can do is ask and if we don't ask, we'll never know whether or not he might have said yes."

Hudson said the deal was struck after they were put in contact with Landis' agent, Scott Thompson.

"Floyd had just finished his competitive season, so was in pretty good form and Scott was confident Floyd would rise to the occasion.

"Floyd is the kind of guy who will give his best and turn up every day to ride as hard as he can."

He said sponsors had reacted positively to help offset the cost of flying Landis in.

"We got an almost instant response of `we're in' from two of them."

Landis will be supported by Auckland riders Nico de Jong, Nick Lovegrove, Jeremy Meech and Southland triathlete Jamie Whyte, all of whom will be racing their second Southland tour.

Landis was trailing leader Tour de France leader Oscar Pereiro by more than eight minutes going into the 17th stage in the 2006 Tour de France.

He launched an impressive all out attack on that stage to win by almost six minutes and got the boost he needed to go on take the overall tour title.

Then he failed the doping test which showed elevated levels of synthetic testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance.

Landis, who has strongly maintained his innocence, was banned for two years and made his comeback this year with the Maxxis team.

Ross said he was not too concerned about Landis' history.

"To my mind, he has served his time, been cleared to ride again and he will be treated the same as any other bike rider will be treated."

Landis helped Lance Armstrong to three Tour de France victories in the US Postal team between 2002-2004 before becoming the headline rider with the Phonak team from 2005.