Floyd Landis, the US cyclist who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win after turning up elevated levels of testosterone in tests, has always maintained that he did not use performance enhancing drugs.
Now, in a series of emails sent to sponsors and cycling officials, Landis has admitted to using substances to gain a competitive edge in the sport during most of his career. He also accuses prominent fellow cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, of engaging in the practice:
…Mr. Landis said that Mr. Armstrong’s longtime coach, Johan Bruyneel, introduced Mr. Landis to the use of steroid patches, blood doping and human growth hormone in 2002 and 2003, his first two years on the U.S. Postal Service team. He alleged Mr. Armstrong helped him understand the way the drugs worked. “He and I had lengthy discussions about it on our training rides during which time he also explained to me the evolution of EPO testing and how transfusions were now necessary due to the inconvenience of the new test,” Mr. Landis claimed in the email.
Cycling fans have been watching Lance Armstrong’s Twitter account for comment, but the cyclist has not acknowledged Landis’s accusations on the microblogging service yet. Landis throws a few other cyclists under the bus as well:
In addition to these allegations, Mr. Landis’s emails called current anti-doping efforts “a charade,” detailed how to use EPO without getting caught and claimed he helped former teammates Levi Leipheimer and Dave Zabriskie take EPO before one Tour of California race.
Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union, has read Landis’s emails but says the cyclist’s credibility is so damaged at this point that his accounts are unreliable:
“I think Landis is in a very sad situation and I feel sorry for the guy because I don’t accept anything he says as true,” McQuaid said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “This is a guy who has been condemned in court, who has stood up in court and stated that he never saw any doping in cycling. He’s written a book saying he won the Tour de France clean. Where does that leave his credibility? He has an agenda and is obviously out to seek revenge.”
Landis says he chose now to come clean because a statue of limitations may run out.