Update on widespread drug use
Floyd Landis has confessed to doping during his professional cycling career in an e-mail to USA Cycling chief executive officer Steve Johnson, which Cyclingnews has obtained a copy of. The e-mail, which was sent to Johnson on April 30, details Landis’ history with doping, starting from his first experience with testosterone in 2002 through to 2006 when he won the Tour de France, before abnormalities from a test on stage 17 saw him stripped of the title years later.
Landis detailed the looming statute of limitations deadline on the information he’s provided as the motivation behind his revelations. "I want to clear my conscience," Landis told ESPN. "I don't want to be part of the problem any more.
"Now we've come to the point where the statute of limitations on the things I know is going to run out or start to run out next month," Landis said. "If I don't say something now then it's pointless to ever say it."
Landis claims in the e-mail to Johnson to have been introduced to testosterone by Johan Bruyneel while riding for US Postal in June, 2002. He claimed to have had lengthy conversations with seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong regarding the evolution of EPO testing that year, before traveling to Armstrong’s house in 2003 to collect his first sample of EPO.
Since turning professional in 1992 Armstrong has never had a positive drug test announced by the UCI or USA Cycling. Both he and Bruyneel have always adamantly denied any involvement with the use of performance enhancing drugs throughout their extensive careers.
Landis allegations must be viewed with scepticism after he previously denied doping. Landis’ sudden doping admission comes after the rider spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to prove his innocence, including the establishment of the Floyd Fairness Fund which encouraged people to donate to help with the estimated $500,000 legal bill. After the rider’s suspension was upheld by the American Arbitration Association, Landis claimed it was proof the “anti-doping system is corrupt, inefficient and unfair”.
“I was instructed to go to Lance’s place by Johan Bruyneel and get some EPO from him,” read the e-mail, which Johnson forwarded to United States Anti-Doping Agency officials on May 1. “The first EPO I ever used was then handed to me in the entry way to his building in full view of his then wife.
“It was Eprex by brand and it came in six pre measured syringes,” it continued. “I used it intravenously for several weeks before the next blood draw and had no problems with the tests during the Vuelta.”
Landis also claims in the e-mail that Armstrong had told him Bruyneel met with the International Cycling Union to ensure details of a positive test remained confidential due to a “financial agreement”.
Current UCI president Pat McQuaid was quick to deny that the international federation had accepted funds to conceal information about a positive test when contacted by Cyclingnews. “It’s completely false and completely untrue and we’ve made contact with a lawyer and will take appropriate action,” said McQuaid.
Neither Johnson nor Landis could be contacted at time of publishing.
Cyclingnews was also unable to contact Armstrong’s representative Mark Higgins. Radioshack press officer Philippe Maertens said Bruyneel would speak to the media on Thursday morning from California, where he is directing a team containing Armstrong at the Amgen Tour of California.
The incredible claims follow a four year period during which Landis vehemently denied allegations of doping during the 2006 Tour de France, when a urine sample showed the rider had an unusually high testosterone to epitestosterone ratio. Landis appealed against the findings from his A and B samples, at which point USA Cycling transferred Landis’ case to the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Landis’ legal team argued that the French National Laboratory for Doping Detection (Laboratoire de Chatenay-Malabry) had been incompetent in its handling of the rider’s sample at a committee hearing.
On September 21, 2007 the AAA overturned Landis’ appeal against his sanction. The three member arbitration panel, led by president Patrice Brunet along with Christopher Campbell and Richard McLaren, was split 2-1 in the guilty verdict, with Campbell dissenting.
Following the AAA decision Landis exercised his final right of appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). CAS announced in June 2008 that it had upheld the findings and Landis would serve out the original two year ban.
Landis returned to racing after the conclusion of his suspension in early 2009, riding with United States of America domestic team OUCH-Maxxis. The team parted ways at the year’s end and Landis joined the OUCH-Bahati Foundation Cycling Team for 2010.