Given his history of playing fast and loose with the facts, does 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis have more or less credibility than Jose Canseco? Given his frequent denials of PED use (after facing equally frequent accusations), is 7-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong simply a less surly/more heroic version of Barry Bonds? These are just two of the questions I’ve long pondered before this morning’s publication of a Wall Street Journal report claiming Landis recently e-mailed officials from USA Cycling and the International Cycling Union detailing his use of PED and implicating other cyclists, trainers and officials in the process. Amongst those fingered, is Armstrong. From the WSJ’s Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell :
In one of the emails, dated April 30 and addressed to Stephen Johnson, the president of USA Cycling, Mr. Landis said that Mr. Armstrong’s longtime coach, Johan Bruyneel, introduced Mr. Landis to the use of steroid patches, blood doping and human growth hormone in 2002 and 2003, his first two years on the U.S. Postal Service team. He alleged Mr. Armstrong helped him understand the way the drugs worked. “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,” Mr. Landis claimed in the email. He claimed he was instructed by Mr. Bruyneel how to use synthetic EPO and steroids and how to carry out blood transfusions that doping officials wouldn’t be able to detect. Mr. Bruyneel and Mr. Johnson could not be reached for comment.
In the same email, Mr. Landis wrote that after breaking his hip in 2003, he flew to Girona, Spain”a training hub for American riders”and had two half-liter units of blood extracted from his body in three-week intervals to be used later during the Tour de France. The extraction, Mr. Landis claimed, took place in Mr. Armstrong’s apartment, where blood bags belonging to Mr. Armstrong and his then-teammate George Hincapie were kept in a refrigerator in Mr. Armstrong’s closet. Mr. Landis said he was asked to check the temperature of the blood daily. According to Mr. Landis, Mr. Armstrong left for a few weeks and asked Mr. Landis to make sure the electricity didn’t go off and ruin the blood. George Hincapie, through a spokesman, denied the allegations.