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“"These guys coming out now with things like this from the past is only damaging the sport," McQuaid told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. "If they've any love for the sport they wouldn't do it." The governing body said it regretted that Landis accused former teammates without allowing U.S. cycling and anti-doping authorities time to investigate. "An impartial investigation is a fundamental right as Mr. Landis will understand having contested, for two years, the evidence of his breach of the anti-doping rules in 2006," UCI said in a statement. McQuaid said it was up to USA Cycling and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to look into the allegations. Greg LeMond, who was the first American to win the Tour de France, issued this statement on his website: "I believe most of Floyd Landis' statements regarding the systemic corruption in professional cycling. I imagine from my own experiences that today he is paying a heavy price for his honesty and I support Floyd in his attempt to free himself from his past. I hope that others -- fans, riders and sponsors embrace this as an opportunity to bring about positive change in the sport." In a statement released Thursday, USADA said it does "not comment on the substance of any doping investigation." In an e-mail to USA Cycling president Steve Johnson dated April 30, Landis related a number of anecdotes he said were representative of his time in the European peloton. However, as Landis told ESPN.com, no one ever coerced him into doping. "I take responsibility for all the stuff I did," Landis said in the interview. "No one gave me something and said, 'Don't ask what this is, just take it.' I would never have done that. The things I took, I knew what they were, and I spent the time researching what the risks were, and the decisions I made were mine. The whole entire process of doping in the entire sport and the evolution of it all wasn't my fault, but when it came down to it, me being there, I made the decision to do it. It wasn't anyone else telling me to do it. I'm not blaming anyone for that. It was my decision. Every time." In the e-mail to Johnson, Landis said Bruyneel, the longtime sports director of the U.S. Postal Service, Discovery Channel, Astana and RadioShack teams who guided Armstrong and Spain's Alberto Contador to a combined nine Tour de France victories, "instructed" Landis on how to use testosterone patches when he was riding for Postal in 2002. Landis added that he first used EPO on Bruyneel's advice the following summer while training for the Tour of Spain, that he obtained the drug directly from Armstrong, and that he started using HGH that he bought from a team trainer in Valencia during that same training period.
I don't feel guilty at all about having doped. 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.” -- Floyd Landis
|Floyd Landis says he used performance-enhancing drugs for most of his career as a professional road cyclist.|
The timing of the Landis allegations -- right in the middle of the Tour of California -- did not go unnoticed. Bruyneel suggested the reason the dethroned 2006 Tour champion made his allegations now is because his team was not allowed to ride in the Tour of California. "He saw all the doors are closed . . . His timing is obviously not a coincidence."
Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports that owns the Tour, said that the ToC welcomed Landis last year when his suspension from cycling ended but that his new team didn't warrant an invite this year. "Floyd thought it was personal. He thought he was being punished. And he did what he did. Whether there is a link there, that's a question to ask Floyd."
Asked whether Landis threatened to go public with his allegations if his team was not invited, Messick said, "He didn't, but we all listen to the chatter. It's other people who call you and tell you stuff. But Floyd never said it."Landis' doping conviction cost him his Tour title, his career, his life savings and his marriage. He said he knows his credibility is in tatters and that many people will choose not to believe him now. He added that he has no documentation for many of the claims he is making about other riders or officials, and that it will be his word against theirs. However, Landis said he decided to come forward because he was suffering psychologically and emotionally from years of deceit and he has become a cycling pariah with little to no chance of ever riding for an elite team again. Prior to speaking with ESPN.com, he said he made his most difficult phone call -- to his mother in Pennsylvania to tell her the truth for the first time. "I want to clear my conscience," Landis said. "I don't want to be part of the problem anymore. "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." Landis said he takes full responsibility for having doped on every occasion that he did it, and added he was never forced or threatened. "I don't feel guilty at all about having doped," Landis told ESPN.com. "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." According to Landis, his first use of performance-enhancing drugs was in June 2002, when he was a member of the U.S. Postal Service team. The World Anti-Doping Agency's statute of limitations for doping offenses is eight years, and Landis said that, too, is part of his motivation for divulging his inflammatory information. "Now we've come to the point where the statute of limitations on the things I know is going to run out or start to run out next month," Landis said. "If I don't say something now, then it's pointless to ever say it." Landis, who began his career as a top mountain biker, had kept detailed training journals since he was a teenager. He said he continued the same methodical record-keeping once he started using banned drugs and techniques. Landis said he spent as much as $90,000 a year on performance-enhancing drugs and on consultants to help him build a training regime. Landis said he has kept all of his journals and diaries and has offered to share them with U.S. anti-doping authorities in recent meetings. He added that he has given officials detailed information on how athletes are beating drug testing. As for his own positive test, Landis still maintains that result was inaccurate and that he had not used synthetic testosterone during the 2006 season -- although he now admits he used human growth hormone during that time. At this point, he said he does not want to dwell on any of the issues he and his lawyers hammered at during his case. "There must be some other explanation, whether it was done wrong or I don't know what," he said. "You can try to write it however you want -- the problem I have with even bothering to argue it is [that] I have used testosterone in the past and I have used it in other Tours, and it's going to sound kind of foolish to say I didn't." Landis exhausted most of his own savings in fighting his case, which cost an estimated $2 million, and also raised funds for his defense in a well-publicized effort. He said he would pay those donors back if he could, but does not have the money to do so. He said he did not level with the people close to him, but declined to say whether he informed his lawyers of his past drug use. Bonnie D. Ford covers tennis and Olympic sports for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com's Jim Caple and The Associated Press was used in this report.