Race kicks off amid war of words between Armstrong and Landis
Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong (left) slammed Floyd Landis’s latest doping accusations hours before the race's start Saturday. In a Wall Street Journal article, Landis detailed his claim that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs.
REUTERS - Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong sharply dismissed Floyd Landis’s latest doping accusations in a statement hours before the start of the three-week race on Saturday.
In a Wall Street Journal article, disgraced 2006 Tour winner Landis provided more details about his use of performance-enhancing drugs and claims against some of the biggest names in the sport, including Armstrong.
“Today’s Wall Street Journal article is full of false accusations and more of the same old news from Floyd Landis, a person with zero credibility and an established pattern of recanting tomorrow what he swears to today,” the 38-year-old American said in a statement.
“The article repeats many of Landis’s baseless and already-discredited claims against many successful people in cycling, and even includes some newly created Landis concoctions.
“Landis’s credibility is like a carton of sour milk: once you take the first sip, you don’t have to drink the rest to know it has all gone bad.”
Armstrong, who launches his bid for an unprecedented eighth Tour title with Saturday’s 8.9-kms prologue, questioned the timing of Landis’s allegations.
“For years, sensational stories based on the allegations of axe-grinders have surfaced on the eve of the Tour for publicity reasons, and this article is simply no different,” he said.
“Lastly, I have too much work to do during this, my final Tour, and then after my retirement in my continued fight against cancer, to add any attention to this predictable pre-Tour sensationalism.”
Six weeks after he finally confessed to doping and pointed the finger at some of his former team mates and team officials, Landis again admitted to using a variety of banned substances, as well as accusing his former U.S. Postal team mates and officials.
Landis provided accounts of blood transfusions, including one in an isolated Alpine mountain where they pretended the team bus broke down and another in a hotel room during the 2004 Tour, as well as fresh claims the team had funded their doping operation by selling off spare bicycles.
Three other former U.S. Postal riders, who were not identified, had said in interviews that doping had occurred within the team, the Journal added, but all the riders and officials identifed by Landis have denied the accusations.
The claims are nothing new for Armstrong, who won the Tour de France seven times in succession between 1999 and 2005 but has spent most of his career fending off accusations of wrongdoing despite never failing a doping test.
The American has always maintained his innocence and dismissed Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour win for a doping offence, as having no credibility.