WASHINGTON, May 20, 2010 (AFP) – Cyclist Floyd Landis, who lost his Tour de France title after a positive drug test, has admitted systematic doping and accused fellow American Lance Armstrong of doing the same, two reports said Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Landis acknowledged his own drug use and accused fellow cyclists of doping in emails he sent to cycling officials and sponsors.
Sports news site ESPN.com said Landis confirmed to them that he had sent the emails admitting the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“I want to clear my conscience,” he said. “I don’t want to be part of the problem anymore.”
Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 title after testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone, claimed he and other US cyclists conducted blood transfusions, and used steroids and a synthetic blood booster called erythropoietin (EPO), the reports said.
In emails addressed to officials from USA Cycling, the International Cycling Union and elsewhere, Landis alleged that Armstrong’s longtime coach Johan Bruyneel introduced Landis to practices including steroid patch use and blood doping.
Landis also claimed Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, explained the doping process to him.
“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 wrote in one of three emails seen by the Journal.
Armstrong and Bruyneel did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
Speaking to ESPN, Landis admitted “misjudgments,” but said he felt no guilt at having taken performance-enhancing drugs.
“With the benefit of hindsight and a somewhat different perspective, I made some misjudgments,” he said.
“I don’t feel guilty at all about having doped,” he added. “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.
“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.”
He told ESPN that he has offered to share his journals and diaries with US anti-doping authorities and has given officials information about how cyclists are able to beat drug tests.
Landis was banned from racing for two years after failing his drug test, making his return in January 2009.
He lost an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which threw out his case in June 2008 and ordered him to pay 100,000 dollars in judicial costs to the American anti-doping agency.
Landis’ attempts to clear his name are believed to have cost him some two million dollars (1.6 million euros).