Papp pleads guilty to distributing drugs

Joe Papp testifies during the 2007 Floyd Landis arbitration hearing.

Joe Papp testifies during the 2007 Floyd Landis arbitration hearing. (Image credit: AFP)

Joe Papp, an elite-level cyclist who testified for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the 2007 Floyd Landis case, pleaded guilty today in a Pittsburgh federal court to two counts of conspiracy to distribute performance enhancing drugs.

The 34-year-old faces up to five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to sell human growth hormones (HGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO) over the Internet, according to the Associated Press.

Assistant US Attorney Mary McKeen said Papp earned in excess of $80,000 between September 2006 and September 2007 selling drugs to 187 cyclists and other athletes both in the United States and internationally. The identities of Papp's customers were not revealed in court.

At the 2007 Floyd Landis arbitration hearing in which Landis attempted to overturn his 2006 Tour de France doping violation involving synthetic testosterone, Papp provided accounts of how testosterone gel aided the recovery of cyclists during stage races like the Tour. The testimony directly contradicted opening statements by Landis's defense attorneys to the effect that testosterone does not benefit racers in stage races.

Papp also admitted in his testimony to taking EPO, HGH, caffeine and a variety of other substances for performance enhancement purposes during his cycling career.

Papp himself served a two-year suspension for a positive testosterone test during the 2006 Tour of Turkey.

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