Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has again strenuously denied the latest doping allegations levelled against him by Floyd Landis, in a statement issued on his personal website.
Landis, a former team-mate of Armstrong who was stripped of the 2006 Tour title after testing positive for testosterone, in May accused a number of riders, including Armstrong, of doping and went into more detailed allegations in an article published in today’s Wall Street Journal.
However, on the day the 97th Tour – Armstrong’s last – begins in Rotterdam with an 8.9-kilometres time-trial, the record champion compared Landis’ statements to a “carton of sour milk”.
A statement on Armstrong’s official website, www.lancearmstrong.com, read: “Today’s Wall Street Journal article is full of false accusations and more of the same old news from Floyd Landis, a person with zero credibility and an established pattern of recanting tomorrow what he swears to today.
“The article repeats many of Landis’ baseless and already-discredited claims against many successful people in cycling, and even includes some newly created Landis concoctions.
“Landis’ credibility is like a carton of sour milk: once you take the first sip, you don’t have to drink the rest to know it has all gone bad.
“For years, sensational stories – based on the allegations of axe-grinders - have surfaced on the eve of the Tour for publicity reasons, and this article is simply no different.
“Lastly, I have too much work to do during this, my final Tour, and then after my retirement in my continued fight against cancer, to add any attention to this predictable pre-Tour sensationalism.”
The United States’ Food and Drug Administration are delving into Landis’ claims, with Jeff Novitzky leading the investigation.
Novitzky is the man who led the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) investigation, which uncovered steroid use in athletics, by track and field athletes including Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Dwain Chambers.
The International Cycling Union await the results of investigations in the USA, but have vowed to punish any rider guilty of an infringement of their anti-doping policies – no matter what their profile.
Speaking to Sky News in Rotterdam, UCI president Pat McQuaid said: “The allegations are the subject of an investigation which is currently ongoing by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, so I don’t want to comment on them until that investigation is over.
“However, what I can say is that if at the end of the investigation we get information which means we can go forward with an anti-doping rule violation against any rider – no matter how big or how small – we will do so.”
McQuaid was frustrated yet another Tour de France was hit by doping allegations.
But he insists the sport can rid itself of the scourge of doping.
“It is disappointing,” he added.
“The activities Floyd Landis is talking about happened around 2001, 2002 and 2003.
“Cycling has moved on a lot since then and even the scientific fight against doping has moved on a lot since then.
“The activities which he is describing took place wouldn’t be possible today - riders wouldn’t get away with these today.
“I do believe that in years to come we will get rid of this doping millstone round our neck.”