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MAY 20, 2010

Cyclist Armstrong Denies Doping
Statement Comes After Former Teammate Landis Admits to Banned PerformanceEnhancing Measures, Accuses Others
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By REED ALBERGOTTI And VANESSA O'CONNELL

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Floyd Landis toasts with a glass of champagne as he pedals during the final stage of the 93rd Tour de France cycling race in July 2006.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong denied allegations that he participated in banned performanceenhancing measures, questioning the credibility of former teammate Floyd Landis, who admitted his own use of drugs and other practices in recent emails. Mr. Landis, the American cyclist whose 2006 Tour De France victory was nullified after a positive doping test, in recent weeks sent a series of emails to cycling officials and sponsors admitting to, and detailing, his systematic use of blood transfusions and performanceenhancing drugs during his career. The emails, which follow years of denials by Mr. Landis, also claim that other riders and cycling officials allegedly participated in such practices, including seven-time Tour de France winner Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Landis's accusations prompted Mr. Armstrong to hold an impromptu press conference Thursday at the Tour of California. "If you said, 'Give me one word to sum this all up:' credibility,'' Mr. Armstrong said, according to the Associated Press. "Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago.''

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With his longtime coach Johan Bruyneel next to him, Mr. Armstrong said Mr. Landis seemingly pointed the finger at everyone still in the sport. "We have nothing to hide," he said. "I'd remind everybody that this is a man that's been under oath several times and had a very different version,'' Mr. Armstrong said. "This is a man that wrote a book for profit that had a completely different version. This is somebody that took, some would say, close to $1 million from innocent people for his defense under a different premise. Now when it's all run out the story changes.''
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Lance Armstrong: We Have Nothing to Hide 2:09

News Hub: Landis Admits Doping, Accuses Others 4:36

World Cup: U.S. National Team Potential High 1:37

Cyclist's Lance Armstrong is helped up after crashing during the fifth stage of the Tour of California cycling race in the outskirts of Visalia, Calif.

Mr. Armstrong later quit the race after crashing just outside of Visalia, Calif. A race official said he received stitches under his left eye and suffered a contusion on his left elbow, but no fracture.

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Mr. Armstrong has faced a number of doping accusations during his career, which he has denied. He has never been sanctioned. Mr. Landis's charges couldn't be independently verified. Mr. Landis did not respond to a request for comment. But he told ESPN.com: "I want to clear my conscience. I don't want to be part of the problem any more.'' It's unclear how many emails Mr. Landis sent. Three emails, dated between April 30 and May 6, have been reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Landis copied seven people on these three emails, including officials with USA Cycling and the International Cycling Union. Three people who have seen the emails and spoken to Mr. Landis about them say they are authentic. In the emails, he expressed frustration about the inability of antidoping officials to clean up the sport. After the Tour De France stripped Mr. Landis of his 2006 victory for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone after one crucial stage of the race, the U.S. AntiDoping Agency banned him from the sport for two years. From the moment the positive test was revealed, Mr. Landis has publicly denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs.
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The emails are particularly focused on American riders. Mr. Landis said in them that during his career, he and other American riders learned how to conduct blood transfusions, take the synthetic blood booster Erythropoietin, or EPO, and use steroids. All these practices are banned in cycling.
Mr. Armstrong rides alongside Mr. Landis during a rest day of the 90th Tour de France in July 2003.

AFP/Getty Images

Mr. Landis said he started using testosterone patches, then progressed to blood transfusions, EPO, and a liquid steroid taken orally.

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Armstrong Denies Doping Allegations Video: Armstrong Responds Law Blog: Will Armstrong Sue for Defamation? Health Blog: Many Meanings of Doping? Landis Won't Recover, Experts Say New Hub Video: Landis Admits Doping Daily Fix: After Landis's Allegations, What Next? Topics: Landis | Armstrong | Doping | Photos

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 coach, Mr. 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 said Thursday that "I've always known Floyd as an angry person ... somebody

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who's basically angry with the world,'' Associated Press reported. "To me it sounds like he just wants to drag down people who are still there and enjoying this.'' In the same April 30 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. In the email sent April 30 to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Landis said that in 2006, after leaving the U.S. Postal Service team for a team sponsored by Swiss hearing aide manufacturer Phonak, he told Andy Rihs, the team's owner, that he had been involved in a blood doping program in the past with his old team and wanted to continue doing so with Phonak.
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Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line to win the 17th stage of the Tour de France in July 2004.

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He said Mr. Rihs, the chairman of Sonova Holding AG, the Switzerland-based parent company of Phonak, agreed to pay for the same doping operations at Phonak. After Mr. Landis's positive test—which was for testosterone and not blood doping—the team disbanded in 2006.

Mr. Rihs, through a spokesperson, declined to be interviewed. He said Thursday in a written statement that neither he nor the management of the team "knew that Floyd Landis was doped," and described the email —Kevin Smyth statements by Mr. Landis as "lies" representing "a last tragic attempt of Landis to once again gain public recognition" that he has lost. Mr. Johnson issued a statement Thursday saying members of USA Cycling would not discuss doping allegations. "There are many accusations being circulated and we are confident these will be thoroughly investigated by the appropriate authorities." In addition to these allegations, Mr. Landis's emails called current anti-doping efforts "a charade," detailed how to use EPO without getting caught and claimed he helped former teammates Levi Leipheimer and Dave Zabriskie take EPO before one Tour of California race. Mr. Leipheimer and Mr. Zabriskie could not be reached for comment. Armstrong Denies Doping Allegations Video: Armstrong Responds Law Blog: Will Armstrong Sue for Defamation? Health Blog: Many Meanings of Doping? Landis Won't Recover, Experts Say New Hub Video: Landis Admits Doping Daily Fix: After Landis's Allegations, What Next? Topics: Landis | Armstrong | Doping | Photos

It's not a good day for cycling and it's a tragic one for Floyd.

Write to Reed Albergotti at reed.albergotti@wsj.com and Vanessa O'Connell at vanessa.o'connell@wsj.com
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