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Floyd Landis admits doping to clear his conscience, implicates Lance Armstrong

American cyclist Floyd Landis comes clean about use of banned drugs to clear his conscience. Landis lost his 2006 Tour de France title on doping charges and spent $2 million in vain to clear his name. He says other cyclists doped too, including Lance Armstrong.

By Staff writer / May 20, 2010

This Feb. 2004 file photo shows Lance Armstrong, left, and Floyd Landis riding side-by-side during the second stage of the 5-day Tour of the Algarve cycling race in Algarve, southern Portugal. On Thursday, Landis admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and implicated Armstrong of involvement in doping.

Miguel Riopa/AP/File

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US cyclist Floyd Landis has reportedly admitted using performance-enhancing drugs after spending four years and more than $2 million to clear his name. He won the 2006 Tour de France, only to have the title revoked on doping charges.

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He said that while he didn’t feel guilty about taking drugs since 2002, which he saw as requisite in a tainted profession, he went public now to seek relief from years of deceit. Not even his mother knew until now.

“I want to clear my conscience,” Landis told ESPN.com last night in his first interview on the subject. “I don’t want to be part of the problem any more.

Landis implicates Lance Armstrong, others

But Landis’s missives were more than a personal confession, such as those many other dopers have made in recent years. In numerous recent e-mails to cycling officials and sponsors, the existence of which were revealed by the Wall Street Journal, Landis laid out not only his own systematic doping but implicated numerous others in the sport, including Lance Armstrong and the current leader of the Tour of California, Dave Zabriskie. He also implicated Armstrong's longtime coach, Johan Bruyneel.

Landis says he has no documentation to prove his claims. None of the three have responded to Landis's accusations, but Armstrong and Bruyneel are expected to speak at a Tour of California press conference scheduled for today.

Landis, whose fight with antidoping officials was one of the most bitter and protracted in recent years, has now offered to provide them with detailed records of his doping regimen, on which he spent up to $90,000 a year, to help them understand how athletes avoid getting caught.

“I don’t feel guilty at all about having doped,” Landis told ESPN.com, admitting he’d used the blood-booster EPO, testosterone, and human growth hormone. “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 tell people I just don’t want to do that, and I decided to do it.”

Landis: Armstrong helped me learn how to dope

In e-mails reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Landis claimed that Armstrong taught him about how to dope – a subject they discussed at length on training rides – and once asked him to safeguard bags of Armstrong's blood when he went on vacation for several weeks. With old-fashioned blood doping, which is virtually impossible to detect through testing, athletes remove blood from their system and reinject it later to boost their oxygen-carrying capacity.

“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,” Landis said in an April 30 e-mail to the head of US cycling, according to the Journal.

Armstrong, whom doping officials never declared as testing positive for banned drugs, has vociferously denied numerous outside charges that he used the blood booster EPO to win seven consecutive titles at the Tour de France.

French newspaper L’Equipe, whose former employee Pierre Ballester published the book "L.A. Confidential: The secrets of Lance Armstrong," as well as Paris-based Le Monde, were quick to pick up the story.
L’Equipe called Landis, a “faithful lieutenant” of Armstrong’s era of domination. And Le Monde seemed to mock Armstrong by calling him “the big brother.”

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