Landis accused of making text threat to Armstrong

LANCE ARMSTRONG’S cycling Team RadioShack last night claimed Floyd Landis had threatened Armstrong in text messages before making his allegations against the seven-time Tour de France winner.

Landis admitted extensively doping in his career, after repeatedly denying it since being stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title.

Landis joined US Postal in 2002, and teamed with Armstrong in three Tour de France campaigns before winning in 2006 riding for Phonak.

In a statement released on their website last night, Team RadioShack said: “When no one in cycling capitulated to his numerous but persistent false threats, demands and rants, Floyd Landis publicly aired the false and incredible concoctions he has been privately making for years.

“In levelling these false and baseless accusations, Landis provided selected emails to multiple journalists in connection with his public statements on Wednesday evening. What was not conveyed were descriptions of the threatening text messages from Landis to others, including Lance Armstrong, that began more than two years ago.

“Most recently, and it was no coincidence that shortly after Landis was informed he and his team were unable to enter and compete in the 2010 Tour of California, Landis and his team owner sent emails to a variety of parties, including Amgen, the race sponsor, and to the president of Trek Bicycle, an Armstrong and RadioShack corporate sponsor.

“Landis later communicated directly with Armstrong and threatened to ‘say directly that I’m going to accuse you and our former team mates of using blood doping and performance enhancing drugs to help you to win the three Tours de France in which we raced together’. Armstrong’s response to Landis was identical to the responses to the same type of threatening text messages received from Landis two years ago — there would be no consideration, money, team positions or anything else given in exchange for not airing false accusations.

“The public has taken them for what they are worth — absolutely nothing.”

Meanwhile the former chief of cycling’s world governing body again declared that Armstrong never tested positive for a banned drug.

Hein Verbruggen was president of the International Cycling Union in 2002, when Landis claims the seven-time Tour de France winner paid the governing body to cover up a failed doping test. Verbruggen said: “Never has Lance Armstrong been declared positive by a lab.”

He said Landis had “a lot of confusion” about accusations he aired this week.

Landis says he is speaking out now partly because World Anti-Doping Agency’s statute of limitations for doping offences of eight years meant his evidence would shortly become unusable. Landis lost his appeal against being banned for two years and stripped of the 2006 Tour title at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which threw out his case in June 2008. His attempts to clear his name are believed to have cost him €1.5 million.

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