Legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong has strongly denied allegations by former cycling teammate Floyd Landis that he used performance enhancing drugs during any of his seven wins on the storied Tour de France bicycle race. Landis, who won and later was stripped of his 2006 title, has rocked the cycling world with his allegations.
Landis has now admitted to doping, but says Lance Armstrong and other cyclists were also dopers.
The stunning accusations came in a strongly-worded letter Landis wrote to cycling officials April 30.
He described how the U.S. Postal Service team, for which Armstrong and Landis rode, devised a systematic way of flouting drug tests from 2002 to 2005.
That allowed them to use banned substances to boost performance, such as blood transfusions and testerone patches and injections.
In the letter, Landis, 34, says teammates, cycling officials and doctors all contributed to a shocking culture of drug use.
Team manager Johan Bruyneel, a longtime friend of Armstrong’s and currently the manager of Armstrong’s Radio Shack team, first introduced him to testosterone, Landis said.
Landis says he and Armstrong often discussed doping, specifically the use of the red blood cell booster erythropoietin (EPO).
Floyd recounts one instance in 2004 when the team bus was heading to the hotel after a race, but stopped over on the way for blood transfusions to boost the riders’ oxygen capacity. Landis wrote in an email to USA Cycling magazine.
“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.
There are many many more details that I have in diaries and am in the process of writing into an intelligible story.
Armstrong, 39, has been the target of repeated doping allegations, but has vehemently denied the charges over the years, and taken numerous blood tests, which he has never failed.
Armstrong was in a California hospital yesterday getting X-rays taken after crashing during the fifth stage of the Tour of California on May 20. He plans to race in the 2010 Tour de France in July.
In 2006, Landis vigorously denied doping after having failed a drug test that year and being stripped of his Tour de France win.
“I think it’s pretty clear that it calls into question Lance Armstrong’s credibility,” says Joe Papp, a ex-cyclist who was banned for doping, told Cyclingnews. “I don’t think Lance Armstrong or the Lance Armstrong myth will ever be the same.”