Cyclist Lance Armstrong heads into the new year uncertain about the outcome of a federal doping investigation. The seven-time Tour de France winner faces doping allegations by former team-mate Floyd Landis, who, according to the New York Daily News, wore a ‘wire’ to help prosecutors.

The New York Daily News reported yesterday that Landis wore an audio and video recorder in a meeting this spring with Michael Ball. According to the newspaper’s source, the hidden camera filmed of what appeared to be human growth hormone and other doping products in the refrigerator of Ball’s apartment in Marina Del Rey, California.

“The quantity and the quality of the video surveillance,” said the source, “was pivotal in the decision to serve a search warrant and essentially raid Ball’s apartment to seize the drugs.”

Ball is a fashion designer and former team manager of Rock Racing. He was friends with Landis, but not close with Lance Armstrong. However, his team included cyclists who helped Armstrong win at the Tour de France: Tyler Hamilton and Victor Hugo Peña.

Landis sent an e-mail to USA’s cycling federation on April 30 detailing the doping practices during his years racing with Armstrong. He raced with Armstrong’s US Postal team from 2002 to 2004, helping Armstrong win those three editions of the Tour de France.

Landis’ alleged the team used blood transfusions and testosterone patches. The allegations caught the eye of Jeff Novitzky, an agent for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The FDA was reportedly already working on a case involving drugs found in the apartment of another one of Michael Ball’s former cyclists, Kayle Leogrande.

Armstrong denies Landis’s allegations.

“I have nothing to hide. I think history speaks for itself here,” he said in May when the allegations were made public. “He has no proof. It’s just our word against his, and we like our word. We like where we stand.”

Armstrong’s last race overseas is at the Tour Down Under in Australia in January. Novitzky travelled overseas in November to meet with his counterparts from France, Spain and Italy, countries where Armstrong lived or trained. Italian prosecutors raided the home of Armstrong’s former team-mate, Yaroslav Popovych, on November 11. Novitzky asked for the raid after he heard testimony from Popovych on November 3 in Los Angeles.

Several of Armstrong’s other team-mates have also testified in front of a grand jury in Los Angeles. His long-time sponsors, Nike, Oakley and Trek, have also supplied Novitzky information.

Landis also filed a federal whistle blower lawsuit against Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, the former management company of teams US Postal and Discovery Channel. From 1998 to 2004, Armstrong raced for US Postal Service, sponsored by federal government money. If the government takes on the case and wins, Landis may collect a portion of the damages.

Landis won the 2006 Tour de France racing with team Phonak, but days later, the title was taken from him when a test revealed he used testosterone. He initially fought the charges, but later admitted to doping.

Related links

Armstrong investigation arrives in Europe

Armstrong’s team mate Popovych testifies he did not witness doping

Armstrong’s team-mate Popovych summonsed in doping investigation

Landis unlikely to stand trial for hacking says manager

Landis admits he doped and implicates others

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  • Yvonne

    Come on guys get over the matter if he has dopped why was the matter not resovled immediately why wait now get over it and lets get the sport clean and with positive support.

  • Mark

    Who really cares anyway? Is there a single rational cycling fan left who actually believes any of the hype surrounding Lance Armstrong?

    Even if the investigation clears him, it will be widely viewed as a whitewash and no-one will actually be swayed from the views they currently hold; and the vast majority, like myself, will continue to believe that the balance of probabilities fall in favour of the view that Lance Armstrong was just a very clever cheat who isn’t man enough to fess up to his actions.

    What Lance Armstrong, through the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Livestrong, may have done for cancer awareness in the United States is of no conceivable relevance to the possibility of him having been a drugs cheat and in no way excuses his actions if he was – in fact, on the contrary, his actions have demonstrated beyond any doubt that he considers himself above complying with the rules of the sport when it comes to using cycling to publicise his other endeavours .. which in my mind only goes to increase the likelihood that he would have viewed doping as a legitimate means to and end.

  • Mike

    Chris, you say Armstrong is a true legend.

    He is only a legend through winning 7 Tours. If it is proven that he cheated then he did not win them clean.

    If he did cheat it amounts to sporting fraud, as the milions he made during his career, from Tour wins and the sponsorship that followed, would have gone to other riders.

    Also, he would have cheated you and his other followers who believe him to be special.

    As I say, we will see.

  • Mike

    With you all the way Andy.

    Cant have Lance investigated for doping can we cos he won so many Tours and has a cancer charity.

    Riis, Ullrich, Virenque, Basso, etc etc etc. None of them ever tested positive.

    Wake up guys.

    Its not posible to beat guys who were on EPO, as the above were later proven to be, by the amount Armstrong did without some, errrr, help.

    Its not palatable or easy but we must get to the botom of this for the sake of cycling.

  • Andy

    Oh brother, Lance has not saved a single life. Get over yourself.

  • Mikey

    Seems obvious that taking the word of anyone who was caught cheating and stands to make money from tarnishing Lance’s reputation, is not exactly a brilliant idea.

    Wasn’t he the most tested athlete on the planet? Surely all those tests including the opportunity to have a ‘B’ sample tested separately, were a fair and conclusive position.

    Just how can Lance test a ‘B’ sample of a proven cheat’s words?

  • Chris Wright

    Why waist time and money on trying to diss Armstrong, he is a true legend. He has given life to so many.

  • Sam Jackson

    When did Tyler Farrar ever help Armstrong win a Tour? He never even raced for one of Armstrong’s teams or Rock Racing.

  • Richard Knott

    Do you mean Tyler Hamilton? End of paragraph 4