After spending more than $2 million of his own money over four years to defend his innocence, Floyd Landis has admitted to using banned performance enhancing drugs and techniques for most of his professional career.
In emails sent to several cycling officials recently, Landis admitted to doping in various forms, including using saved blood, testosterone patches and other performance enhancing drugs since 2002, the year he joined the U.S. Postal Service team. (The officials are remaining anonymous citing ongoing investigations)
In addition to admitting his own guilt, Landis said in the letters that 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, current U.S. road racing national champion George Hincapie, three-time Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer and five-time U.S. time trial champion David Zabriskie also participated in doping, and that it was tolerated by team managers Andy Rihs (Phonak) and Johan Bruyneel (then with Postal).
In a phone interview with ESPN, Landis admitted that he has no evidence to support his accusations against his former teammates and fellow riders, coaches and even some national and international officials. Â In the interview, Landis states:
“I want to clear my conscience. I don’t want to be part of the problem any more.
“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.”
Why come forward now? Â Afterall, he’s racing on a 2nd tier (though solid) pro team with the Bahati Foundation, so it’s not like there’s much to prove. Â Landis says the timing is important because the 8-year statute of limitations on doping offenses is coming up, and if anything is to be done about the alleged doping by the other riders, he had to speak up now or it would be pointless. (Anyone else see another nasty, bitter court and public opinion battle similar to that between Armstrong and Lemond coming?)
Landis says he spent up to $90,000 per year on doping products and procedures, and according to a NY Times article, at times stored bags of blood in Armstrong’s Girona, Spain, apartment…next to bags belonging to Armstrong and Hincapie.
Amid the Tour of California racing, the aforementioned riders were unavailable for comment on Wednesday night as these allegations came out, but Bruyneel and Armstrong plan to make an announcement prior to the start of today’s Stage 5 at the AToC (which starts at 10:45am PST).