Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack tonight hit back at Floyd Landis and claimed the disgraced American rider has been threatening to make what they insist are “false accusations” of doping against Armstrong for over two years.
In a lengthy statement, the team’s lawyers dismissed accusations levelled yesterday by Landis against Armstrong in which he claimed the seven-time Tour de France winner had used banned substances.
In all, Landis accused 16 other riders and officials of breaking doping rules.
Landis’ claims were described in the statement as “incredible concoctions”, made by a man who “has apparently decided that since he cannot be in professional racing then no one else should”.
Armstrong yesterday claimed he was not surprised by Landis’ accusations as he had been threatening to make them for some time, a claim repeated in today’s statement.
“In levelling these false and baseless accusations, Landis provided selected emails to multiple journalists in connection with his public statements on Wednesday evening,” the statement said.
“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.
“Mr Armstrong and others, then, as he has now, told Landis he had nothing to hide and that he was not going to submit to Landis’ baseless threats to ”disclose“ falsehoods.
“Lance never has and never will give anyone money, or anything else, to keep them from airing falsehoods.”
The statement went on to claim that Landis used the threat of making his accusations public in an attempt to land a spot on Team Radio Shack for the ongoing Tour of California.
“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,” the statement said.
“As Landis’s sponsor put it, Amgen had killed Floyd’s plan for the California race after Landis was run out of the United Healthcare team. In that email and others, he suggests a spot for Floyd on the RadioShack team.
“Having been refused, 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.
“Getting no satisfaction and not receiving a position on the RadioShack team, Landis then carried through with his threat and provided the press with his false allegations. The public has taken them for what they are worth - absolutely nothing.”
The storm began yesterday when Landis ended his long fight to clear his name against doping allegations by completely reversing tack, admitting widespread use, and then making allegations against several others.
The 34-year-old, stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for using synthetic testosterone, has since been attacked by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for his behaviour, in particular his allegation that Armstrong struck a deal to conceal a positive test in the 2002 Tour de Switzerland – an event Armstrong did not race in.
Landis’ claims are to be studied by the United States and world anti-doping agencies.