There is some new information in the Wall Street Journal's lead
Web story posted Friday, July 2, ominously titled 'Blood Brothers'.
So far, it has ostensibly been one man's word against another, and as
Lance Armstrong said at the Tour of California in May, "We like our
word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."
has been missing so far is credibility in terms of corroborating
evidence, because quite frankly, Floyd Landis has none. Credibility,
that is; evidence he claims to have in spades.
Now, however, the
WSJ claims to have testimonies from three other US Postal riders
during Armstrong's tenure there that there was a culture of doping on
the team, with one admitting he doped, too.
Since losing his
2006 Tour de France title in less than salubrious fashion, Landis has
told a litany of lies.
But what he has told ESPN and now
the WSJ in such intricate detail, could that really be fabricated
from a man never really known for his intelligence, cunning and
scheming Ã¢â¬â even if he has nothing left to lose?
It has been
enough for US federal investigators to have a serious look in, where
Landis has shared all he has given to the aforementioned publications
plus loads more.
The centrepiece of the investigation, led by
Jeff Novitzky, a special agent for the Food and Drug Administration's
Office of Criminal Investigations Ã¢â¬â famous for his lead investigator's
role in the BALCO case that put an end to former world and Olympic
champion sprinter Marion Jones Ã¢â¬â centres around the issue of fraud;
namely, whether members of US Postal defrauded its sponsors by using
performance-enhancing drugs when they all claimed to be clean as a
Landis has also directly attacked the one thing that
has given Armstrong his worldwide legion of acolytes, die-hard fans, and
his 2,500,000-plus Twitter followers and counting: his image.
"I made up my mind at that point that he's got his image, and then he's
got the reality," said Landis after a US Postal boys-night-out in late
2001 that involved a visit to a strip-club in Armstrong's home town of
Landis goes into great detail about his and
others' drug-taking to boost their performances. Perhaps most compelling
of all is not the alleged illegal drug use per se, but the claims that
bikes meant for US Postal riders were sold to procure drugs including
testosterone patches and EPO.
General counsel for Trek, the
team's then bike supplier, Robert Burns confirmed to the WSJ that
team bikes were indeed sold Ã¢â¬â a practice that "would surprise us", he
said Ã¢â¬â however Burns admitted he didn't know the motivation behind it,
where former Postal rider David Clinger claimed one sale could command a
$10,000 or $20,000 windfall, "if the bike was ridden by Lance".
Personally, the timing of the article Ã¢â¬â a day before the start of the
2010 Tour and without a pedal turned Ã¢â¬â sucks, and already, there are
handfuls of deflated journalists in the press room in Rotterdam, who
have only just recovered from OperaciÃ³n Puerto.
there's more to come.
If this leads to a true watershed moment
for cycling and a distinct separation of fact from fiction, then I'm
happy to see more of it.
Note: Anthony is on location at
the Tour de France for Procycling magazine.