Tracking the tour: Landis calls out Lance for drug use 

Such as the current state of professional cycling, a doping scandal always seems just a whisper away, and, true to form, a black cloud of new allegations has surfaced during the heart of the Amgen Tour of California.

Such as the current state of professional cycling, a doping scandal always seems just a whisper away, and, true to form, a black cloud of new allegations has surfaced during the heart of the Amgen Tour of California.

Disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis, whose 2006 Tour de France title was stripped after he tested positive for unusually high levels of testosterone, finally admitted to past use of performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with ESPN.com that was published Thursday.

Not content to merely implicate himself, Landis fingered seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, three-time Amgen Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer and current Amgen Tour co-leader David Zabriskie as past users of performance-enhancing drugs.

The 34-year-old Landis, whose team was denied entry into this year’s Amgen Tour of California, said Armstrong and his long-time coach Johan Bruyneel, introduced him to doping practices in 2002, and he detailed specific instances during past Tour de France races where the group evaded detection tests.

Landis also accused Leipheimer and Zabriskie of doping, as well as George Hincapie, Armstrong’s long-time teammate who is currently participating in the Amgen Tour for the BMC Racing Team.

During a hastily-assembled media gathering Thursday morning in Visalia, site of the Amgen Tour’s Stage 5 start, Armstrong denied all charges levied against him by Landis.

“It’s his word versus ours,” said Armstrong. “We like our word, we like our credibility.”

Landis spent millions of dollars to unsuccessfully mount a lengthy legal battle against the test results which ultimately stripped him of his Tour de France title. In his interview with ESPN’s Bonnie Ford, Landis said he admitted to his past indiscretions to “clear his conscience.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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