You can tell the Tour de France isn’t far away: there’s another major drugs scandal in the news. This one’s a big one. It rivals the Festina scandal from 1998, with Floyd Landis accusing Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and just about everyone else from his days at US Postal and Phonak.

Floyd doesn’t pull his punches. Some of it we have heard before, but his attack on the UCI is potentially the most damaging to our sport. Bike racing’s world governing body and its former president, Hein Verbruggen, were quick to dismiss Landis’s allegation that Armstrong and Bruyneel made a payment to ensure that a positive test for EPO at the Tour of Switzerland in 2001 was suppressed.

A separate storm is brewing over another payment. Armstrong told CW, in November 2008, that he had made a donation of $25,000 to the UCI in 2005. Last week, current UCI president Pat McQuaid admitted on Irish radio that the payment was in fact $100,000, $88,000 of which was spent on a Sysmex machine. Of the remaining $12,000 McQuaid said: “We had $12,000 change out of it, so what odds does that make?”

The same day, on another continent, Armstrong gave a press conference and was asked if he had ever paid the UCI any money. “Absolutely not.” he replied.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • Robert

    Some very good comments here. As for John Reekie’s advice that we should all move on and forget about the past because all of the top riders were dirty back then just doesn’t wash with me. I’m an avid cyclist and follower of the pro tour as are many of my friends and most hold the same view as Mr. Reekie; everyone doped back then, Armstrong was simply the best in an otherwise level playing field.

    While that may indeed be true and for the sake of argument let’s go with it. What is troubling with this logic is the constant lying to the public and the fans of the sport. If true, Armstrong’s whole persona of being a “clean” champion among a bunch of dirty cheaters is built upon a lie. He has indeed profited from this image. He would also have much to lose (understatement!!) if he were ever to be convicted of fraud. I personally don’t care what type of person Armstrong is and whether or not he cares what others in this world think of him. If in fact he is lying then the torment he is living with would be frightening. A disordered mind is its own punishment.

    If you haven’t read excerpts of Landis’ interview with Bonnie Ford of ESPN then I recommend you do so and then judge for yourself. Landis had every intention of playing the game and making a come back to pro cycling. Over the past 4 years it became increasingly obvious to him that this would not happen regardless of what he said or did. So he’s blown the whislte and come clean. Without hard proof we all have to pick sides in this matter. I for one believe Landis. Armstrong, Bruyneel and the others have to live with themselves.

  • Savas Mosaidis

    Why waste your time on guys that only care for the big $$s? Go out cycling, enjoy, and buy products from companies that do not give out (with our help) the big $$s!!

  • Race Pace Richard

    Landis is the latest to throw mud. How many more can Lance and his cohorts dismiss as “disgruntled ex employee’s” and “digruntled ex team mates” before they run out of excuses. At the time it would appear drug taking was the norm rather than the exception.

    Bring on the biological passport, up the length of the bans and lets get this sorted for the future.

  • Mike Tierney

    Fraud Landis is an admitted and proven liar and cheat. He even lied to his own mother. So WHY should anyone listen to him now? He has no proof of anything. Kick the liar to the curb and move on.

  • john senior

    There will be lots of people like John Reekie saying so what and the response is dead simple…Landis has broken Omerta and is saying some very challenging things (which most people with half a brain and any knowledge of cycling thought anyway) and his claims should be taken seriously because thats how we make sure someone will expose the cheats. The more naive should remember that tests are usually developed after cheating, not before. It’s also a good way of proving that cycling wants to clean up its one should be above suspicion and if Tour Winners are found guilty they should have their victories disallowed. If you can do this to Barne Riis and Landis then why not Armstrong, rergardless of his profile.

  • Noel

    Simon’s analogy about L.A.’s tackle may eb a bit overstated in light of Lance’s well known delivery from ;the Big C.

  • John Reekie

    Who cares. When Lance was competing ofr multiple TDF wins everyone was on drugs. The proof of this is in the large number of his competitors who got caught. He was the best rider regardless of drugs. Now the sport is being goverened properly and non dopers can compete then maybe we should move on.

  • Simon

    Landis, Armstrong, Bruyneel – they must have balls the size of space-hoppers judging by the bs they manage to spin out. I’m surprised any of them ever managed to get their leg over a crossbar in the first place. You guys at CW (particularly Lionel Birnie) have done a great job in trying to get inside the detail here – more power to you all. I look forward (with a sad heart) to further revelations.

  • Ken Evans

    “Opening the Floyd gates” = nice pun

    Sysmex makes many different machines,
    please detail which machine was bought, with which specification,
    and any special additions, such as extra software.

    The UCI receipt would be ideal.

    Please note, I doubt this will help dopers evade detection.