Tour de France winner Floyd Landis admits doping, accuses Lance Armstrong
Thursday, May 20, 2010; 10:57 PM
-- With the cycling season kicking into high gear, the strongest doping allegations yet against Lance Armstrong surfaced Thursday in a barrage of detailed messages from Floyd Landis, the disgraced rider and former teammate who finally confessed to years of cheating himself.
In a series of e-mails sent to sponsors and sports officials, Landis alleged Armstrong not only joined him in doping but taught others how to beat the system and paid the former president of the International Cycling Union to keep a failed test quiet.
"We have nothing to hide," Armstrong said at an impromptu news conference before the fifth stage of the Tour of California.
"Credibility," the seven-time Tour de France winner said in Visalia. "Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago."
In two e-mails obtained by The Associated Press, Landis also admitted for the first time what had long been suspected - that he was guilty of doping for several years before being stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title.
"I want to clear my conscience," Landis told ESPN.com. "I don't want to be part of the problem any more."
Neither Landis nor his family returned repeated messages from the AP.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the details of the e-mails on its website early Thursday. The newspaper also reported Landis was cooperating with the Food & Drug Administration's criminal investigations unit and had met with FDA special agent Jeff Novitzky, the lead investigator in the BALCO case.
Landis alleged that Armstrong and longtime coach Johan Bruyneel paid former UCI president Hein Verbruggen to cover up a test in 2002 after Armstrong purportedly tested positive for the blood-boosting drug EPO. The UCI denied changing or concealing a positive test result.
In an e-mail Landis sent to USA Cycling chief Steve Johnson, he said Armstrong's positive EPO test was in 2002, around the time he won the Tour de Suisse. Armstrong won the Tour de Suisse in 2001 and did not compete in 2002.
"We're a little confused," Armstrong said.
The e-mail to Johnson also said: "Look forward to much more detail as soon as you can demonstrate that you can be trusted to do the right thing."