In a series of emails to media organistions and cycling officials disgraced former Tour de France 'winner' Floyd Landis yesterday admitted to systematic doping and implicated a number of other riders too including arguably cycling's biggest ever star, Lance Armstrong.
Amongst those emailed were the Wall Street Journal, it has been able to confirm to its satisfaction that the emails were genuinely from Landis - the newspaper has taken nearly three weeks to go public on the mails. That Landis doped is not a surprise, that he has finally admitted it is something of a bombshell given the loud and long campaign he waged, and which was waged by many on his behalf in the US media, to proclaim his innocence.
That particuar bombshell pales in to insignificance compared to what Landis has to say about his fellow American and erstwhile team mate, Lance Armstrong. However Armstrong, who has so far seemed to laugh off the accusations in allusions to them on his Twitter page, is not the only American rider that Landis singles out as having doped. He also mentioned George Hincapie (according to Landis, he, and Hincapie stored their blood in Armstrong's fridge during their US postal days). Landis also claims to have to have showed Levi Leipheimer and Dave Zabriskie currently leading the Tour of California how to use EPO before a stage on a previous edition of the race.
All of the cyclists named by Landis have at one time or another ridden for teams managed by Johan Bruyneel and it is he who Landis says in his email organised and orchestrated the doping regimes of the cyclists riding for him.
Landis followed up his emails with a telephone interview with ESPN reporter Bonnie D Ford in which he catalogued his use of of EPO, human growth hormone (HGH), testosterone patches, female hormones, and said he had also experimented with insulin. He also admitted that he has no documentation to back up his claims and that it will be his word against that of the riders and he has named. Given the tattered state of Landis' reputation many may feel that his word may not prove to be a very strong currency should this all go to court and that these allegations are a last desperate throw of the dice by a man whose life and career have been ruined.
According to Landis his motivation for coming clean was twofold. The psychological and emotional burden of living with his deceit was too hard, his fall from grace and his subsequent campaign to clear his name has seen his marriage collapse, ruined his financies and turned him in to such damaged goods in cycling terms that his hopes of riding for a top level team again have disappeared.
"I want to clear my conscience," Landis said. "I don't want to be part of the problem any more," he told Ford.
He also has an eye on the World Anti Doping Authority 8 year statute of limitations for doping offences. He claims that his doping career started in June 2002 and in his interview with ESPN he says:
"Now we've come to the point where the statute of limitations on the things I know is going to run out or start to run out next month," Landis said. "If I don't say something now then it's pointless to ever say it."
He went on to add that he had kept detailed training logs right through his career and these included methodical accounts of the drugs he used and the techniques to avoid detection. In some circles it has been thought that the doping infringement that cost Landis his Tour title may well have been an 'accident' in which he mistakenly transfused a bag of blood which he thought was clean… a practice which is of course illegal itself, but much harder to detect.
The following is reproduced from a PDF uploaded to the Fight4Truth Scribd account and is claimed to be a copy of Landis' email confession.
FLOYD LANDIS’ LETTER
TO THE UCI AND USA CYCLING
TYPED BETWEEN APRIL 30-MAY 6, 2010
2002: I was instructed on how to use Testosterone patches by Johan Bruyneel during the During the Dauphine Libere in June, after which I flew on a helicopter with Mr Armstrong from the finish, I believe Grenoble, to San Mauritz Switzerland at which point I was personally handed a box of 2.5 mg patches in front of his wife who witnessed the exchange. About a week later, Dr Ferrari performed an extraction of half a liter of blood to be transfused back into me during the Tour de France. Mr Armstrong was not witness to the extraction but he and I had lengthy discussions about it on our training rides during which time he also explained to me the evolution of EPO testing and how transfusions were now necessary due to the inconvenience of the new test. He also divulged to me at that time that in the first year that the EPO test was used he had been told by Mr Ferrari, who had access to the new test, that he should not use EPO anymore but he did not believe Mr Farrari and continued to use it. He later, while winning the Tour de Swiss, the month before the Tour de France, tested positive for EPO at which point he and Mr Bruyneel flew to the UCI headquarters and made a financial agreement with Mr. Vrubrugen to keep the positive test hidden.
2003: After a broken hip in the winter, I flew to Gerona Spain where this time two units (half a liter each) were extracted three weeks apart. This took place in the apartment in which Mr. Armstrong lived and in which I was asked to stay and check the blood temperature every day. It was kept in a small refrigerator in the closet along with the blood of Mr Armstrong and George Hincapie and since Mr. Armstrong was planning on being gone for a few weeks to train he asked me to stay in his place and make sure the electricity didn't turn off or something go wrong with the refrigerator. Then during the Tour de France the entire team, on two different occasions went to the room that we were told and the doctor met us there to do the transfusions. During that Tour de France I personally witnessed George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Chechu Rubiera, and myself receiving blood transfusions. Also during that Tour de France the team doctor would give my room mate, George Hincapie and I a small syringe of olive oil in which was dissolved andriol, a form of ingestible testosterone on two out of three nights throughout the duration. I was asked to ride the Vuelta a Espana that year in support of Roberto Heras and in August, between the Tour and the Vuelta, was told to take EPO to raise my hematocrit back up so more blood transfusions could be performed. I was instructed to go to Lances place by Johan Bruyneel and get some EPO from him. The first EPO I ever used was then handed to me in the entry way to his building in full view of his then wife. It was Eprex by brand and it came in six pre measured syringes. I used it intravenously for several weeks before the next blood draw and had no problems with the tests during the Vuelta. Also during this time it was explained to me how to use Human Growth Hormone by Johan Bruyneel and I bought what I needed from Pepe the team "trainer" who lived in Valencia along with the team doctor at that time. While training for that Vuelta I spent a good deal of time training with Matthew White and Michael Barry and shared the testosterone and EPO that we had and discussed the use thereof while training. Again, during the Vuelta we were given Andriol and blood transfusions by the team doctor and had no problems with any testing.
2004: Again the team performed two separate blood transfusions on me, but this time Bruyneel had become more paranoid and we did the draws by flying to Belgium and meeting at an unknown persons apartment and the blood was brought by "Duffy" who was at that time Johans assistant of sorts. The second of which was performed on the team bus on the ride from the finish of a stage to the hotel during which the driver pretended to have engine trouble and stopped on a remote mountain road for an hour or so so the entire team could have half a liter of blood added. This was the only time
that I ever saw the entire team being transfused in plain view of all the other riders and bus driver. That team included Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie and I as the only Americans.
2005: I had learned at this point how to do most of the transfusion technicals and other things on my own so I hired Allen Lim as my assistant to help with details and logistics. He helped Levi Leipheimer and I prepare the transfusions for Levi and I and made sure they were kept at the proper temperature. We both did two separate transfusions that Tour however my hematocrit was too low at the start so I did my first one a few days before the start so as to not start with a deficit.
2006: Well you get the idea....... One thing of great significance is that I sat down with Andy Riis and explained to him what was done in the past and what was the risk I would be taking and ask for his permission which he granted in the form of funds to complete the operation described. John Lelangue was also informed by me and Andy Riis consulted with Jim Ochowitz before agreeing. There are many many more details that I have in diaries and am in the process of writing into an intelligible story but since the position of USA Cycling is that there have not been enough details shared to justify calling USADA, I am writing as many as I can reasonably put into an email and share with you so as to ascertain what is the process which USA Cycling uses to proceed with such allegations.
Look forward to much more detail as soon as you can demonstrate that you can
be trusted to do the right thing. - Floyd Landis
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.