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. Sergio

    to all of you who dump on cycling as a dirty sport, if MLB and the NFL applied the same testing standards and punishments as pro cycling, there wouldn't be enough players left to create even one pro team.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bikedawg

    Great- the 'Jose Canseco' of cycling. I for one, wanted to believe Floyd- although never contributed to his fund. BUt after reading the book from "Lance to Landis" & "Lance Armstrong's War" by David Walsh & the one about BALCO, I got a clearer picture of what these guys (Bonds, Jones, etc) were upto- EPO, blood transfusions, masking agents, blah, blah blah. Actually, it's been known for awhile that he likely doped- even if he tried to get away with on a technicality & the results were a bit thin scientifically.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Armstrong

    Armstrong is next........but there will be suspision without any confession since he knows how to play the game. Granted, he is pretty good at his sport, but his performance was way too superior for too long given that he is competing with other professional athletes. I could be wrong though....

    May 20, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Leonard

    Did he mistaken truth serum for one of his enhancement drugs. Way to go Landis, your eye sight is gong too...and female hormones...Were you desperate.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hazen Weber

    First of all the doping tests are so strict in cycling that taking a Sudafed could count as doping. Cyclist have to watch what OTC and prescription medications they take for simple ailments like a sinus infection for this reason. Second, yes there is a lot of doping in cycling, and in crazy ways we don’t hear of in other sports like the NFL or NBA. Tyler Hamilton tested positive for doping, and was guilty. After a two year suspension and a website of friends saying how he was innocent, he was busted again, and admitted to it this time. Jan Ulrich, Lance Armstrong’s greatest challenger failed a test and admitted it eventually. Alexandre Vinokourov – admitted to doping and blood transfusions after getting caught. The last year Lance Armstrong won the TDF he was tested after every leg except one, that’s 20+ tests. He has never failed a test. So stop trying to lump him in with these other guys when he’s been tested probably twice as much. Furthermore since we know the testing is so accurate in cycling, it seems fair to say that Lance couldn’t cheat the tests if he wanted to. You have to pee in the cup in front of the person administering the test, and some tests take blood. So lets leave Lance out of this. If he fails a test, then fine, but he hasn’t.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Goober

    What's the big deal? I think doping should be encouraged. We want our atheletes to be the best in the world so load 'em up to the max. It would be cool to see them burst into flames when crossing the finish line at over 80 miles per hour!

    May 20, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Janet

    I love the fact that he comes out now, after he's reaped all the financial benefits he could (he doesn't live like Armstrong, but I saw his house and he doesn't live like an average guy either). It has been pretty obvious to anyone breathing (except a Congressman, who would hold hearings and take him on his word) that this guy has been doing this all along.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Glenn

    THis should be front page news. Not only did he cheat but he made a spectacle out of his lies. Ban him from life from the sport and drag his name through the mud. UNREAL

    May 20, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. SD

    Before I came to live in the USA, I represented another country on their national cycling team and competed in many international events, including world championship in Italy. I was always surprised at how many athletes where taking the latest "undetectable" performance-enhancing drugs to the point that our team would get offers for discounted drugs from people employed by other teams. Needless to say, I never did win the world championship, nor did I ever take drugs.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tad Pole

    I'm just really glad you don't see this kind of drug abuse in football, soccer, basketball or hockey. OK, baseball had some bad apples, but I think they got that all cleaned up in recent years.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Sergio

      the only reason you don't see this kind of abuse is because there's practically no testing worth speaking of in those sports. Do the winning players on a baseball team have to pee in a cup within minutes of winning a game? No. They get tested, what, a couple times a year? And they know well in advance when they're getting tested. Only the superfreaks like Barry Bonds, who is going to need a lifetime to flush the steroids from his system, test positive. Face it, big money sports in the US don't want to make a big deal of drug testing because it would take away from the show, and therefore from the money.

      May 20, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. Michael Schweitzer

    Didn't this jerk poop all of Greg Lemond when Lemond asked that he come clean? Once again, Lemond was right. Why let cheaters compete with real athletes?

    May 20, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. CyclingFan

    I am sick and tired of all of the naysayers complaining about "clean sports". Doping goes on today all the way down to high school sports, probably even lower levels if you include all of the "energy" drinks consumed by young athletes at swim meets, at youth baseball tournaments, and other such events!. I am quite certain that a complete study of the first Olympic games would find evidence of doping. Any real study of Roman gladiatorial combat will find doping. If you watch any sport and cheer any "superstar" and don't believe they are not "enhancing" their performance you are fooling yourself!!!

    May 20, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. teresa, kent, oh

    For everyone saying doping goes on everywhere.... when the ONES that win pass a clean drug test, what do we say this is from? If someone FAILS a doping, do we say the testing is wrong? We cant have it both ways.

    Athletes in the mega bucks sports that say they want no doping, should EXPECT nothing less than no doping.

    Landis was lying about being clean back then. As he was claiming he was innocent, his eyes never blinked once.
    He just stared at his interviewers with this deer in the headlights look and never blinked... ya, thats normal behavior ; )
    Everyone knew he was lying. Everyone. : ) Is lance doping? Probably, but he hides it better.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. teresa, kent, oh

    sniff sniff.... I smell a Book coming in the next year... oh , ya.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. ranch1111

    Dopestrong, Lance. They're closing in on you.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
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