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Shortly after Floyd Landis, in yellow,  cycled to victory in the 2006 Tour de France, officials announced the American had failed a test for performance-enhancing drugs. (Franck Fife/Getty Images) Shortly after Floyd Landis, foreground, cycled to victory in the 2006 Tour de France, officials announced the American had failed a test for performance-enhancing drugs. (Franck Fife/Getty Images)

In-Depth

Cycle of denial

Allegations – and denials – of drug use are rampant in the world of cycling

Last Updated Thurs., Jan. 3, 2007

As he fights to clear his name, Floyd Landis contends that systematic doping in cycling is a thing of the past but there is circumstantial evidence that appears to undermine the tainted cycling champion's assertions.

Landis won the 2006 Tour De France but his claim to that prestigious title is now in limbo. Just days after his victory, the International Cycling Federation announced Landis had failed a drug test during the late stages of the world’s most famous bike race.

In an exclusive Canadian interview with CBC News, the American rider claimed he is innocent and that he’s never felt pressure to take drugs by the teams he’s been with in a decade of professional cycling.

“Since I've been involved I can say for sure that there is no team that does that,” said Landis. “First of all the team couldn't possibly afford the risk even if they wanted to do it.”

Landis had blood doping photos: former pro cyclist

However a transcript of a private computer chat indicates Landis had knowledge of blood doping during the 2005 Tour De France. The communication was marked as an exhibit in a lawsuit involving Lance Armstrong that was settled out of court last year. CBC News has obtained thousands of pages of documents relating to that lawsuit as well as previously unseen video depositions including that of Armstrong himself.

The instant message exchange took place between a pair of former riders early one morning just after the cycling superstar and cancer survivor won the Tour de France for the 7th and last time. In the discussion, Jonathan Vaughters told Frankie Andreu that Landis knew about blood doping during the race.

The two men were back home in the U.S. after the race where Vaughters had been working with a European team and Andreu was working as a television commentator. They chatted about how one team in particular ran it’s doping program.

Vaughters claimed oxygen-rich blood was taken from the riders just after a shorter tune-up competition a few weeks before the Tour De France. It was then transfused on rest days to give the riders a boost going into the next stage of the legendary race. Vaughters then alleged that Landis had a picture of the refrigerated container of blood, called a pannier, which was carried by support staff along the route.

That part of the instant message exchange went like this:

Vaughters: They draw the blood right after the Dauphine.

Andreu: How do they sneak it in, or keep it until needed? I'm sure it's not with the truck in the fridge.

Vaughters: Motorcycle – refrigerated panniers. On the rest day. Floyd has a photo of the thing.

Landis told CBC News he had no such photos and wondered why Vaughters would make such a claim.

Landis suggested that Jonathan Vaughters joking when he told Frankie Andreu that Landis was familiar with blood doping techniques.  
              (Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images Landis suggested that Jonathan Vaughters was joking when he told Frankie Andreu that Landis was familiar with blood doping techniques. (Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images)

Landis denies existence of photos

“When I talked to Vaughters he said that you know, he was just trying to get Frankie going,” and Landis added.“ I have no idea what possessed him to make that up. I wish I knew.”

When the transcript of the message was first published in the French newspaper L’Equipe in October, Vaughters claimed it was just gossip, based on rumours not fact.

“Only Jonathan knows or Floyd. Those two,” said Andreu who earlier this year, admitted to doping before the 1999 edition of the Tour.

Betsy Andreu was more outspoken about the discussion between her husband and Vaughters. “Why would Jonathan make it up at 6 o'clock in the morning, when it was a private conversation?" Andreu said. “He would have no reason to make it up.”

Armstrong, who retired after winning the 2005 Tour, has repeatedly denied ever taking performance-enhancing drugs during his career.

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External Links

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Floyd Landis.com
Official site
Lance Armstrong.com
Offical site
Tour de France
Offical site
International Cycling Union
Offical site
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