Tour de France - Landis dishes doping details

Reuters - Sat, 03 Jul 10:43:00 2010

Disgraced Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has provided more details about his use of performance-enhancing drugs and claims against some of the biggest names in the sport, including Lance Armstrong.

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Six weeks after he finally confessed to doping and pointed the finger at some of his former team mates and team officials, Landis gave what the Wall Street Journal described as "the most detailed view yet of what may be one of the biggest and most intricately coordinated cheating conspiracies in sports history."

In the article, published on Saturday to coincide with the start of the Tour de France, Landis again admitted to using a variety of banned substances, including testosterone, human growth hormone and erythropoietin (EPO), as well as accusing his former US Postal team mates and officials.

Landis provided accounts of blood transfusions, including one in an isolated Alpine mountain where they pretended the team bus broke down and another in a hotel room during the 2004 Tour, as well as fresh claims the team had funded their doping operation by selling off spare bicycles.

Three other former US Postal riders, who were not identified, had said in interviews that doping had occurred within the team, the Journal added, but all the riders and officials identifed by Landis have denied the accusations.

The claims are nothing new for Armstrong, who won the Tour de France seven times in succession between 1999 and 2005 but has spent most of his career fending off accusations of wrongdoing despite never failing a doping test.

The American has always maintained his innocence and dismissed Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour win for a doping offence, as having no credibility.

"I've been at the front of my sport since the day I showed up," Armstrong said on Thursday when asked about Landis's claims.

"There's been a ton of questions, a ton of scrutiny and a lot of controls and a lot of investigations and I'm still here.

"At the end of the day, my career, I think, speaks for itself."

Anti-doping officials have called on Landis to provide evidence backing up his claims.

He has been speaking with US federal investigators, who are examining whether the US Postal team defrauded their sponsors by using performance-enhancing drugs while vowing to race cleanly, according to the Journal.

Landis was a team-mate of Armstrong's at US Postal between 2002 and 2004 before changing teams in 2005.

When Armstrong retired after winning the Tour in 2005, Landis won the following year but was stripped of his win after returning an abnormal testosterone/epitestosterone ratio.

He denied any wrongdoing and fought a long and expensive legal case, which he lost, and was subsequently banned for two years.

In May this year, he finally admitted he had cheated. Armstrong came out of retirement last year and finished third in the Tour but announced last week that this month's race would be his last appearance in the gruelling cycling classic.

Reuters

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