May 20th, 2010
07:54 AM ET

Reports: Cyclist Floyd Landis admits to doping

Editor's note: Listen to what Landis says at 2:01 into the interview when Larry King asks him whether he doped.

Cyclist Floyd Landis has acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs for most of his career after disputing for years a positive doping test result that led to his suspension from the sport, two news organizations reported Thursday.

Landis also sent e-mails saying that other cyclists have used performance-enhancing drugs, including Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist and seven-time Tour de France winner, one of the news outlets reported. Armstrong has repeatedly denied taking such drugs.

ESPN.com reported that Landis said in an interview that he consistently used the red blood cell booster erythropoietin, commonly known as EPO, along with testosterone and the human growth hormone and that he received frequent blood transfusions.

He also used female hormones and, once, insulin, ESPN.com reported. He is coming forward now because years of deceit have taken a toll on him, the site quoted him as saying.

Landis sent e-mails to cycling and anti-doping officials recently that implicate dozens of other athletes in such activities, ESPN.com and The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported it had seen three of the e-mails, dated between April 30 and May 6, and that officials with USA Cycling and the International Cycling Union were copied on them.

Three people who have seen the e-mails and spoken with Landis about them confirmed their authenticity, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal said Armstrong was among those implicated in the e-mails. Armstrong did not respond to messages seeking comment from The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times reported Armstrong would speak before the start of Thursday's stage of the Tour of California race.

Landis spent as much as $90,000 a year on performance-enhancing drugs and consultants to help him build a training regime, ESPN.com reported.

However, he still maintains that the 2006 positive test result for synthetic testosterone at the Tour de France was inaccurate, saying he did not use synthetic testosterone that season, although he did use human growth hormone during that time, ESPN.com reported.

"There must be some other explanation, whether it was done wrong or I don't know what," Landis said, according to ESPN.com.

"The problem I have with even bothering to argue it is [that] I have used testosterone in the past and I have used it in other Tours, and it's going to sound kind of foolish to say I didn't."

He told the website he has spent an estimated $2 million battling the test result, which caused him to be stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win and to be suspended from cycling for two years.

The Wall Street Journal reported that in an April 30 e-mail to Stephen Johnson, president of USA Cycling, Landis claimed that Armstrong's longtime coach introduced Landis to using steroid patches, blood doping and human growth hormone in 2002 and 2003, during Landis' first two years on the U.S. Postal Service team.

Armstrong helped him understand the way the drugs worked, Landis wrote, according to The Wall Street Journal. "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," the Journal quoted the e-mail as saying. Attempts by the newspaper to seek comment from Johnson were unsuccessful.

Landis wrote that Armstrong's coach taught him to use synthetic EPO and steroids and how to carry out blood transfusions that doping officials wouldn't be able to detect, the Wall Street Journal said. He said that after breaking his hip in 2003, he flew to Spain and had two half-liter units of blood taken from his body in three-week intervals to be used during the Tour de France.

The extractions took place in Armstrong's apartment, Landis wrote, and blood bags belonging to Armstrong and a teammate were kept in a refrigerator in Armstrong's closet, the Wall Street Journal said. Landis said he was asked to check the temperature of the blood daily, and when Armstrong left for a few weeks, he asked Landis to make sure the electricity didn't go off and ruin the blood, the newspaper said.

Armstrong has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs.

"Look, I've done this a long time, and I've been at the highest level now since 1992 until 2009," he told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta last July, shortly after placing third in the Tour de France. "I've been tested more than anybody else.

"If I can take four years off and come back at the age of 38 with more controls than anyone else on planet Earth and get third place in the hardest sporting event in the world, I think we've answered the question."

Landis told ESPN.com that he realizes his credibility is questionable and that he has no documentation for many of the claims he is making about other riders or officials and it is his word against theirs.

"I want to clear my conscience," Landis told the website. "I don't want to be part of the problem anymore. With the benefit of hindsight and a somewhat different perspective, I made some misjudgments. And of course, I can sit here and say all day long, 'If I could do it again I'd do something different,' but I just don't have that choice."

ESPN.com also quoted Landis as saying, "I don't feel guilty at all about having doped. I did what I did because that's what we (cyclists) did and it was a choice I had to make after 10 years or 12 years of hard work to get there; and that was a decision I had to make to make the next step. My choices were, do it and see if I can win, or don't do it ... and I decided to do it."

He told ESPN.com he never felt forced or threatened to use performance-enhancing drugs. He said his first use was in June 2002, when he was a member of the U.S. Postal Service team. He said the fact that the World Doping Agency's statue of limitations for doping offenses is eight years factored into his motivation for coming forward.

He said he has saved his records, journals and diaries and has offered, in meetings with U.S. anti-doping authorities, to share them, ESPN.com said.

In the e-mails, Landis writes that current anti-doping efforts are "a charade," The Wall Street Journal said. He also detailed how to use EPO and avoid detection and claims he helped other teammates take the substance before a Tour of California race, the newspaper said.

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soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. tomfolly

    This is not a surprise.

    May 20, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Armando

    Isn't this the idiot that cried when he got stripped of the Tour de France and went on late night tv crying about the injust treatment???? Wow. What an idiot. Goes to show drugs fry your brain.

    May 20, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bobby O

    Landis is probably out of options for financial support. His legal bills would be astronomical by now, and a huge burden. "Come Out Now,take the Heat, Write a Book" is his last shot scenario, probably foisted upon him by some jackal of an agent, trying for his last pint of 'blood'! Sorry all our faith has once again been crushed under the heel of Reality!

    May 20, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. medman

    Ofcourse Lance had cancer!! He needed GH and blood... The most tested athlete in history and nothing on Lance except words... Funny... Come train in the Texas heat and see what man cycling is all about.

    May 20, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • BB

      It is truly sad that a great rider was compelled to take drugs trying to be the Best rider. Stupid to be careless and get caught. Spineless to deny the obvious evidence. and now vindictive trying to pull down other great riders who finally got smart and quit many years ago, and some who are Great from gifted natural body physics and who train like Hell to be the Best. Sorry Landis, we don't believe your crap this time. You're Done.

      May 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pirate Bob

    I am very disappointed - I had really believed the guy! I even made a donation to a local fundraiser for his legal expenses.

    I WANT MY MONEY BACK !!!!!!!

    And, by the way, I do NOT believe Lance was ever a doper; people want to believe that because they can't understand how he could be so good otherwise. But one thing needs to be understood: Armstrong is an ANIMAL or a MACHINE or a little of both!

    May 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rob

    Natural awsome talent and hard work is nearly imposible to beat. When you are just not as good naturally, cheating is how you raise yourself. Lemond was a natural awsome talent and so is Armstrong. I doubt Lemond cheated. Armstorng who knows.

    WHAT I personally find so amazing and strange is that through nutrition you can blood dope in a very effective way. But no one seems to know about it.My only thought is sports Doctors don't make money this way and ignorance is bliss. I talked to one of the Olympic cycling doctors about this he looked at me like I was crazy. But when asked have you ever tried the program I remarked on, developed and tried myself, the answer is no. I still can't believe the ignorance regarding nutritional blood doping. I paid for my own testing, in two weeks I changed my hemoglobin of approx 14.7 g/ DL to just over 19 g/DL and my hematocrit from 43 to 50. Cheap, simple, easy, safe and legal. I figured this out 20 years ago.

    May 31, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JeffB

    Floyd Landis is an admitted liar and cheat. Don't believe a word he says. I hope all those who donated to is defense fund sue him to get their money back,

    July 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
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