from bicycling newsletter..
FLOYD DROPS THE LANCE BOMB
Los Angeles, May 10, 2007
Floyd Landis said he was offered what amounted to a plea deal last August by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to give up information on possible doping activities by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.
“It was offered to me that if I give up something on Lance Armstrong to incriminate him, I would serve the lightest possible suspension,” Landis said, at a Thursday press conference leading up to his arbitration hearing for doping charges starting Monday at Pepperdine Universtiy. “I found it to be offensive. And I think it goes to the character of the prosecution.”
Landis quickly added that he had “never” seen Lance do anything wrong or illicit and hoped that the focus of the upcoming proceedings would remain “about science and a doping hearing.”
“That’s what I have been accused of,” he said.
According to sources contacted by Bicycling, USADA lawyer Travis Tygart approached Landis’ lawyer, Howard Jacobs, in August, 2006, with a deal that would allow Floyd to serve a “shorter sentence that would allow him to race in the 2007 Tour” if he would give up “bigger names” and accept his suspension.
When pressed at the Thursday call as to whether or not the bigger name in question was definitely Lance Armstrong, Landis said, “Yes.”
Landis said he flatly refused the deal and sources close to him said he couldn’t understand why prosecutors would expect him to accept a deal when he was innocent. From his perspective, USADA was trying to use him as a pawn to get to someone else and didn’t really care if he was guilty or innocent.
Landis and his defense team reiterated several times their disgust with the offer and their opinion that it points to the character of the prosecution that they will do anything they can to bring guilty verdicts on the biggest names in sport.
Armstrong held a press conference following Floyd’s. According to the Trust But Verify blog, he was furious with USADA and had no ill will towards Floyd for bringing this proposed deal to light. Read more from Lance’s press conference.
Lance Armstrong has always maintained his position that he never took any kind of performance enhancing drug, always claiming that he “was the most tested athlete in the world.”
Landis’ hearing before a panel of three arbitrators begins May 14.