L'Equipe, in its Friday, October 13 edition, has published excerpts of an electronic conversation between Jonathan Vaughters, team director of development squad TIAA-Cref, and Frankie Andreu, former US Postal rider. The communication, which reportedly took place on July 26, 2005, was presented by Andreu's wife Betsy during the court case opposing Lance Armstrong and insurance company SCA in February 2006. In it, the two former teammates of the seven-times Tour de France winner, converse about doping within cycling, and, more precisely, within the US Postal team.
In the article, L'Equipe quotes Andreu, who has recently admitted that he used EPO to boost his performances in 1999, the first year Armstrong won the Tour, as writing that he was surprised when Vaughters said that during his time at Crédit Agricole, he did not receive any injections. Vaughters, who had been with the US Postal cycling team from 1998-1999, rode for the French squad from 2000-2002.
"When I was at Crédit Agricole, all the teams were supposed to receive 25 injections per day... Well, at Crédit, there were zero!" said Vaughters according to the article, to which Andreu is reported to have replied: "You're saying that no rider received any injection? That's crazy..." Vaughters: "That's when I realized that Lance was really fooling us when he said that everybody was doing as we did... Believe me, as crazy as it may seem, Moreau didn't take anything, his hematocrit was 39."
The current TIAA-Cref manager is said to have continued by saying that he "could explain how Lance fools everybody. With everything Floyd [Landis?] told me, I know the method exactly. [...] It's very complicated to get around the controls now but there is no new product or miracle thing, it's just a question of money and very precise planning. That explains why they all got dropped. They didn't have their tanks full, and then, during the rest day, boom! 800 millilitres of red blood cells, stored in bags. They took that blood out just after the Dauphiné." According to L'Equipe, Vaughters was alluding to stage seven of the Tour de France that year, when Lance Armstrong was left without teammates in the relatively easy climbs of the Alsace region, one day prior to the race's first rest day.
"But how do they store and hide it during all that time?" Andreu then asked. "I'm sure it's not in the bus fridges." To which Vaughters replied, "It's transported on a motorbike, in frozen cases. Floyd has photos of all of that."
Contacted by Cyclingnews about his statements, Vaughters admitted that the IM conversation had taken place, but said that everything he had said was based on rumours rather than facts. "It was a gossipy conversation between two people," he said. "There's nothing in it that I could prove in court, just stuff I'd heard." The conversation had been printed out by Frankie Andreu's wife and submitted to the SCA arbitration, according to Vaughters.
Vaughters said he could not be sure if Floyd Landis really had photographs of the alleged doping practices. "I regret saying Floyd said anything to me in that IM because it was a friend of Floyd's," he continued. "In fact, everything I wrote in that IM was something I heard from somewhere else."
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