Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong believes Floyd Landis is innocent of doping but feels he will still lose his arbitration case.
Landis, a former teammate of Armstrong, won the 2006 Tour de France but tested positive for a synthetic steroid during the event.
That forced Landis to go to an arbitration hearing against the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Armstrong was quoted in Colorado’s Summit Daily News as saying the cards are stacked against Landis.
“I think conventional wisdom is that he will lose, because USADA has never lost a case,” said Armstrong, the guest speaker at an Aspen Ideas Festival health forum discussion on Tuesday.
“The arbitrators don’t ever rule for the athletes. Quite frankly the system is set up against the athletes. … Unfortunately for him, I don’t think he did it.
“That’s always been my position and still is today, but I’m not sure that’s he going to get a fair shake in this trial.”
Armstrong himself is at the centre of controversy again this week because of a new book by Irish journalist David Walsh, which alleges he and his teammates used creative doping methods to win his record seven Tour de France titles.
These are the latest allegations faced by the Texan, who has been the subject of a stream of similar accusations both during and after his unprecedented run in the world’s most prestigious cycling race.
“I always hear about it, I always read it, and I always see it and it always makes me mad,” Armstrong said.
“But you know what? I sleep every night like a baby. I know what I’ve been through, I know what I did and how I did it, I know the type of team I had. I believe that we were the best, and that’s the thing that gives me the confidence to go forward.
“The good news there is that the people I want to affect, the people that I want to influence, they do not care. They could write a million articles – that population of people does not care.”
© AFP 2007