With confessed drugs cheat Floyd Landis cooperating with a federal probe, two others fingered by the disgraced US cyclist have been contacted by authorities, the New York Times has reported.
Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after testing positive for synthetic testosterone, created a sensation this week when he admitted after years of denials that he had used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
In coming clean, Landis accused a bevy of other top riders – including onetime teammate Lance Armstrong – as well as others involved in the sport.
Those accused were quick to challenge Landis’ credibility.
But the New York Times reported that two of those named by Landis said they had been contacted by anti-doping officials and asked to cooperate with an investigation in exchange for lenience.
The newspaper said the two didn’t want their names used because they hadn’t decided if they would cooperate.
According to email messages he sent to cycling officials and sponsors, Landis has met at least twice with anti-doping authorities.
He has also been reported to be cooperating with an investigation led by Food and Drug Administration special agent Jeff Novitzky, who was the lead investigator in the BACLO steroid probe.
The investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, source of the designer steroid THG, rocked the sports world prior to the Athens Olympics, and the fallout has continued in a wide range of sports.
One-time sprint queen Marion Jones served a prison sentence after admitting she perjured herself during the probe.
Andrew Messick, the sports director for AEG, the company that runs the Tour of California, told the New York Times that Landis had told him he planned to make a public confession.
“He was trying to find other riders to come clean with him, but nobody would,” Messick told the newspaper, and said he advised the cyclist to contact the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Landis offers belated apology to LeMond
Floyd Landis, who this week admitted to doping throughout his cycling career, has reportedly moved to get another weight off his conscience with an apology to three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.
Sports website ESPN.com reported Saturday that Landis had apologized to LeMond for an ugly incident during the 2007 hearing at which Landis appealed the cheating charge that saw him stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title.
LeMond was scheduled to testify about a telephone conversation with Landis, in which he believed Landis had tacitly admitted using performance enhancing drugs.
On the night before he was to testify, LeMond received an anonymous call threatening to reveal that he had been sexually molested as a child – something he had told Landis in their earlier conversation as a way of demonstrating the destructive power of secrets.
The call was traced to Landis’ personal manager, Will Geoghegan – a fact that was revealed in a shocking moment during the hearing.
Landis told ESPN.com that he wanted to keep details of his conversation with LeMond private.
Landis didn’t stop short at confessing his own drug use this week. He also pointed the finger at numerous other cyclists, including seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, and said that doping was intrinsic at the elite level of the sport.
Armstrong and others in cycling have dismissed the accusations, challenging Landis’ credibility.
© AFP 2010