Lance Armstrong is reportedly looking to build bridges with former US Postal team mate, and one of his chief accusers over doping, Floyd Landis. The apparent move by Armstrong to seek a rapprochement with Landis comes ahead of his being interviewed later today by Oprah Winfrey, when he is expected to make a limited admission to doping.
However, according to USA Today, sources familiar with the situation say that Landis has to date rebuffed attempts by Armstrong to bring about a reconciliation between the pair.
When Landis went public with admitting to his own doping in July 2010 as well as providing details of Armstrong’s own use of performance enhancing drugs, his former team leader, who was about to start that year’s Tour de France in Rotterdam, described him as “a person with zero credibility.”
While Landis had himself spend several years denying the drug-taking that brought him victory in the 2006 Tour de France, his belated admission helped form a crucial part of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s case against Armstrong.
The question many will ask is why it is news of Armstrong seeking to mend his relationship with Landis has leaked out when there are many others who should arguably be higher up the queue for an apology from the man who was banned for life and stripped of results including those seven Tour de France titles won between 1999 and 2005.
The answer most likely lies in the ‘whistleblower’ case filed by Landis in September 2010 against Armstrong and others connected with the former US Postal Service team, in which he says they effectively defrauded the US government, in the form of the team’s sponsor, of up to $30 million by operating a systematic doping programme.
A spokesman for Armstrong described Landis at the time as “an epic cheater," although with seven Tour de France titles stripped compared to his former team mate’s one, the Texan seems to have comprehensively outdone him on that score.
Today, Armstrong is being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey at his home in Austin, Texas, with the programme being screened on Thursday evening as well as being streamed live worldwide. It has been reported that he will admit doping, but without naming methods, substances or other parties involved.
Ahead of today’s interview, Armstrong contacted “key people in the cycling community” to admit he had concealed the truth about his doping, reports the Washington Post.
Whether those individuals include the likes of his former masseuse Emma O’Reilly, team mate’s wife Betsy Andreu or the ostracised former riders Christophe Bassons and Filippo Simeoni, who are all among those who suffered in some way from the determined attempts of Armstrong to protect his reputation against any insinuation he doped his way to victory, is not recorded, although the reference to "key people' suggest not.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.