Floyd Landis has claimed cycling will continue to have a doping problem until more people come forward and talk openly without the fear of being ostracised from the sport.
Speaking during a 90-minute panel session in front of a reported audience of just 30 people at the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference in Geelong, Landis said he hoped his own confession can play a part in resolving cycling’s problems.
“Until I can sit here, and a lot of other people can sit down and talk about how it came to be that way, it’s going to be hard to find a solution,” the Associated Press news agency reported.
“If I can be a catalyst for that, so be it. I don’t care to take any credit for it because part of why I’m doing what I’m doing is for my own conscience and my own well being.”
“As much as it hurts to sit and tell my mom I lied, and to tell other people that I lied, it’s better than the alternative.”
Landis claimed doping was widespread in cycling when he tested positive for testosterone after winning the 2006 Tour de France. His allegations of drug use by Lance Armstrong and other former teammates have sparked a federal investigation in the US and a string of doping investigation by national federations.
Landis claimed he eventually came clean to help other people avoid the same problems he went through while in denial about his doping.
“There were plenty of good people in cycling who made the same decisions I did. And it was never their intention to cheat anybody. It was never their intention to hurt anybody, it’s just that it was so commonplace that you could rationalize it in your mind that you weren’t hurting anybody,” he said.
“I really didn’t want to put anyone else through (what I went through after being caught). It was an unpleasant experience to say the least. And even to this day I wish there was a way to tell the truth without getting anyone else involved. I can say first hand, leaving me out of it or whatever anyone’s opinion is about me, there are good people in cycling that made the same decisions I made and there are people I don’t like who made the decisions I made.”
Landis admitted he waited far too long before confessing his own drug use and acknowledged many people might now doubt his motives.
“It took me longer than it probably should have,” he said.
“I knew that having defended myself in the beginning, and having lied about never having doped, that no matter when I changed the story and no matter when I decided to tell the details of what I’d done, the argument was always going to be the same. It was going to be that I shouldn’t be believed now.”
Landis refused to speak about the on-going US federal investigation or the specific allegations he has made. He will stay in Australia for this week’s world championships but has not been officially accredited.