Landis: Doping agency after Armstrong
Floyd Landis claims the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s lead attorney approached his lawyer offering “the shortest suspension they’d ever given an athlete” if Landis provided information that implicated Lance Armstrong for doping.
At a news conference Thursday to preview his upcoming arbitration hearing, Landis said he made the Armstrong allegations public not because he planned to use it as evidence when testimony begins Monday, but to show the lengths USADA will go to in prosecuting athletes.
“It was offensive at best,” Landis said. “It speaks to the character of the prosecution.”
The 2006 Tour de France champion said USADA general counsel Travis Tygart approached his attorney, Howard Jacobs, with a deal shortly after learning of Landis’ positive doping test during the Tour.
He said Jacobs characterized the conversation as one in which USADA would offer a deal if Landis passed on information about seven-time Tour champion Armstrong “or information about someone more important than me.”
Over the years, Armstrong has fought doping allegations that have never been proven.
As for what he told Jacobs when the attorney passed on the information: “I don’t think that offer justified a response,” Landis said.
Jacobs did not immediately return messages left at his office by The Associated Press, and Tygart held to USADA’s restriction on commenting about ongoing cases.
“If Mr. Landis will waive the rule and allow me to comment, then I’ll be happy to address his nonsense,” Tygart said.
USADA has a history of reducing penalties for athletes who provide evidence of doping violations by other athletes, though asking for information about specific athletes is not allowed. Landis faces a two-year suspension and forfeiture of his title if his positive test is upheld.
Armstrong and Landis are former teammates who went through an unfriendly split in 2004, but Armstrong has publicly supported Landis and been an outspoken critic of the way anti-doping agencies do business.
“I believe in Floyd, I believe he hasn’t had a fair shake,” Armstrong said recently.
The Armstrong revelation was the latest in a string of allegations Landis has levied against USADA and anti-doping authorities as he puts the final touches on his defense.
Over the past several months, he has toured the country to drum up support and money for his defense. He says the leak of the positive doping test last July damaged his reputation, and he’s not even sure a victory in arbitration will repair all that.