The New York Times is reporting today that after four years of denials cyclist Floyd Landis has admitted that he used performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. The 2006 Tour de France winner, who was later stripped of that title, reportedly sent e-mails to top cycling officials in the U.S. and Europe detailing his use of the drugs, while also naming other top U.S. riders who he says were doping as well.
The officials who spoke to the Times didn’t with to have their names published, but did say that Landis admitted that he began using the performance enhancing drugs back in 2002, when he joined the U.S. Postal Service Team led by Lance Armstrong. Reportedly, Landis says that not only was Lance doping, but so were George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, and David Zabriskie. Essentially the top names in U.S. cycling.
Landis, who now races with the OUCH-Bahati Team, says that he is hoping to clear his conscience, and no longer wants to be a part of the problem, but says he has no documentation to prove his claims agains the other riders. He did, however, share the details of his own drug use saying that he commonly used EPO, which works to increase the white blood cells to aid with endurance, testosterone, human growth hormone and blood transfusions. He also claims that he spent $90,000 a year on performance enhancing drugs so he could continue to compete in the sport.
What motivations Landis has for coming forward at this time is unclear, but he is sharing his knowledge about the drugs, and who distributes them, with officials both in and out of the sport. Personally, anything that helps to clean up the sport of cycling is a good thing from my perspective, but year after year, it seems like it is a losing battle as more stories like this one come out, and top names in the sport ended up testing positive.
One thing is for sure however, Landis is likely to have a chilly reception in any peloton he rides in in the near future.
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