Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Floyd Landis Admits Doping

Floyd Landis, who won the  2006 Tour De France only to find it taken away after positive doping test, has told cycling officials and sponsors through email that he systematically used performance enhancing drugs during his career, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal early this morning.

He also claims in those emails that other riders allegedly participated in doping, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong is competing in the 8-day Tour of California, which started on Sunday, May 16th.

Landis has vehemently denied performance enhancing drug use in the past. Following his fall from grace at  the Tour de France, he mounted a significant campaign which included several websites dedicated to proving his innocence.

Nevertheless, the ruling body of the Tour de France stripped him of his Yellow Jersey based on test results, which allegedly found traces of testosterone.

In his latest series of emails which he sent to officials of USA Cycling, and the International Cycling Union, he provided details of his drug use, from EPO, synthetic blood booster Erythropoietin, to steroids. Landis said he started using testosterone patches, then progressed to blood transfusions, EPO, and a liquid steroid taken orally.

This from the Wall Street Journal who have three of the emails:
In one of the emails, dated April 30 and addressed to Stephen Johnson, the president of USA Cycling, 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. He claimed he was instructed by Mr. Bruyneel how to use synthetic EPO and steroids and how to carry out blood transfusions that doping officials wouldn't be able to detect. Mr. Bruyneel and Mr. Johnson could not be reached for comment.

In the same email, Mr. Landis wrote that after breaking his hip in 2003, he flew to Girona, Spain—a training hub for American riders—and had two half-liter units of blood extracted from his body in three-week intervals to be used later during the Tour de France. The extraction, Mr. Landis claimed, took place in Mr. Armstrong's apartment, where blood bags belonging to Mr. Armstrong and his then-teammate George Hincapie were kept in a refrigerator in Mr. Armstrong's closet. Mr. Landis said he was asked to check the temperature of the blood daily. According to Mr. Landis, Mr. Armstrong left for a few weeks and asked Mr. Landis to make sure the electricity didn't go off and ruin the blood. George Hincapie, through a spokesman, denied the allegations.... 
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. Mr. Leipheimer and Mr. Zabriskie could not be reached for comment. 
Lance Armstrong did not reply to a request for comment for the WSJ article. But in the past he has repeatedly denied any illegal substance use for enhancing his performance.

In last year's Tour de France, Armstrong was more frequently tested than any other rider, and had surprise visits from doping officials in the early hours of the morning, on days when he was sleeping before a race.

Although it is commonplace for officials to request that top riders come in for testing after each stage of the race, they customarily only do so with the top three finishers. Not so for Armstrong, who was brought in for his urine sample even on days he finished with the peleton, so much so that it became a running joke among riders.

It is also no secret that failing riders often turn to what now appears to be the age-old tactic of vowing to "go clean," while also doing everyone else a favor by trying to "clean up" the sport of cycling.

But little seems to be accomplished when the first words of admission are accompanied by finger pointing at other riders. This same technique was used by Greg Lemond when his career came to a sudden end, and he began looking for targets.

Landis has long been perceived as a has been --perhaps a perception that started when he was caught for doping in 2006.  But this perception became ingrained over the past few years since then because he hasn't won any major races. Landis left his sponsor team OUCH-Maxxis in January when it was taken over by United-Healthcare-Maxxis.

Also in January a French court issued an arrest warrant for Landis alleging that he had illegally tried to breach the computer holdings of the company that tested him for doping at the 2006 TDF.  He was being sought to answer questions about the data hacking that occurred at the Châtenay-Malabry antidoping lab, and would have been arrested had he entered French soil.

2 comments: said...

Yeah, well. Look at the source. I wonder what Floyd's parents think about all that's gone on in the last 6 years. I spoke to a young woman who stopped in our store one day who grew up with Floyd and who'd had dinner with him and his parents when they were little. She said she didn't know what to believe any more. Neither do I.

Anonymous said...

Another earth-shattering exposé that is no surprise. Wow, when will these guys just give it up and ride for fun? Or, just use their natural talent, which they obviously have in abundance, to win the races whilst allowing other "mere mortals," who don't abuse performance-enhancing substances, a chance for a bit of glory?

All of this kind of dysfunctional behavior continues to polarize the sport. Bunk.

Matty S.-W.