Despite protests by Union Cycliste Internationale president Pat McQuaid, Floyd Landis carried on with his plans to speak at an anti-doping press conference at the World Championships in Geelong, Australia.
Landis’ involvement in a federal doping investigation involving Lance Armstrong in the USA created a buzz around his arrival, but also limited what he could say. A grand jury is convened in Los Angeles to look into Landis’ allegations that Armstrong and his US Postal team used tax payers’ money to fund a doping programme.
Today, Landis turned his attention to the same agencies that discovered that he doped at the 2006 Tour de France and that stripped his win.
“Everybody is wrong, the athletes because of their behaviour, also the people who make the rules, the athletes don’t trust them,” Landis said.
Landis was a guest of the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference on doping in cycling. Guests also included Michael Ashenden, who helped devope the urine test for EPO and served as an expert witness in SCA Promotions 2005 case against Lance Armstrong. Ashenden sat alongside Landis today in the panel discussion on the future of cycling.
“It is always black or white, dope user or not, and there is no space for something in between,” said Landis. “We all know that life is not like that.”
Testers found Landis with elevated levels of testosterone at the 2006 Tour de France and later revealed it was artificial testosterone. Landis unsuccessfully argued the findings and later admitted he doped at the Tour de France.
In April this year, Landis sent an email to USA’s cycling federation to explain other doping use. He alleged that in the years he raced with Lance Armstrong’s US Postal team, from 2002 to 2004, he and his team-mates doped. Federal prosecutors are investigating the allegations and have subpoenaed several of Armstrong’s former team-mates.
Earlier this week, UCI’s president, Pat McQuaid questioned Landis’ participation in the New Pathways conference.
“My only problem is with his modus operandi,” McQuaid told the AP news agency. “I am aware that there are other very high profile athletes who have also been sanctioned for major doping offences that are … assisting authorities in the fight against doping. They choose to do it, to my mind, the correct way by working quietly without any hullabaloo.”
McQuaid’s fears of a hullabaloo at the UCI’s World Championships were unnecessary given Landis’ contribution today. However, Landis did mention cycling’s boss by name.
“The problem is that people like Pat McQuaid,” said Landis, “are prejudiced against some riders.”
The two are likely to cross paths this week as McQuaid is also in Geelong. Landis is expected to stay until the men’s road race on Sunday and then return to the USA where prosecutors are still sorting through his doping allegations. A ruling may come sometime next year.