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In an attempt to disprove Floyd Landis’ credibility, Lance Armstrong has released a month’s worth of emails between Landis, longtime Landis supporter Dr. Brent Kay and AEG Sports president Andrew Messick, the man in charge of the Amgen Tour of California.
The disjointed and sometimes confusing email string documents Landis’ meetings with USADA officials, facilitated by Messick, as well as Landis’ attempt to get his OUCH-Bahati team invited to the Tour of California.
Armstrong did not release his replies to Landis.
Emails from Landis also suggest that Landis was provoking Armstrong to file a lawsuit.
“I should also point out that this email trail will make a lawsuit after my public statements appear to be what it would be, a PR stunt, rather than what a lawsuit at the moment would appear to be,” Landis wrote to Armstrong on May 6.
In the same email, Landis references an conversation between Armstrong and Kay — he also mentioned the conversation in an interview with ESPN.com’s Bonnie Ford — where Armstrong questioned Landis’ mental health.
“So once again I’d like to remind you that calling my close friends with allegations of alcoholism and insanity will be ineffective and certainly threats of “tweeting” that if I have something to say I should just say it reflect poorly on your mental well-being and maybe seeking help is a good idea for you,” Landis wrote. “Of course like I’ve stated, a legal course is preferable.”
In a statement prefacing the email communication, the RadioShack team’s legal counsel writes, “In leveling these false and baseless accusations, Landis provided selected emails to multiple journalists in connection with his public statements on Wednesday evening. 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.”
“Most recently,” the team statement continues, “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. 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.”
Shortly after the messages posted online Friday, Bicycling Magazine’s Joe Lindsey asked Armstrong, via Twitter, why he hadn’t posted his replies.
Armstrong answered “I never wrote back…,” adding that his only replies to Landis were text messages Armstrong sent Landis years ago, “in which I did respond, “do what you have to do, I can’t help you. Take care.”
Editor’s Note: Kay, in an email to Messick dated May 3, accuses VeloNews of having an agenda towards Landis, and refers to a VeloNews editor as a “cocaine whore.”
“Has anyone ever considered just saying some nice things about him?” Kay wrote. “That might go a long way towards solving this problem. Just because the cocaine whore (hearsay) at Velonews hates him doesn’t mean everyone else has to.”
The relationship between VeloNews and Landis soured in the summer of 2009, following publication of an article written by VeloNews managing editor Neal Rogers examining Landis’ comeback season. Landis and his then-team, OUCH-Maxxis, refused to comment for that story. However Landis’ teammates, as well as riders from other teams, spoke with Rogers about Landis’ comeback and his rocky tenure within a team that was financed by Landis’ close friend.
In the story, titled “Where is Floyd?” Rogers examined the many reasons why Landis’ was struggling to return to the form he enjoyed before his doping suspension.
VeloNews stands by Rogers’ story.