Lance Armstrong Unfazed by Floyd Landis Claims

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07/2/2010| 0 comments
by Reuters, with additional commentary by Roadcycling.com
Lance Armstrong and youngster Jani Brajkovic at the 2010 Tour de France team presentation in Rotterdam. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Lance Armstrong and youngster Jani Brajkovic at the 2010 Tour de France team presentation in Rotterdam. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Lance Armstrong Unfazed by Floyd Landis Claims

Lance Armstrong says recent allegations that he doped during his career from former teammate Floyd Landis won't distract him from his goal to win a record eighth Tour de France. "It will be the opposite. It's going to inspire me," he said. Good old Lance is back!

Lance Armstrong says recent allegations that he doped during his career from former teammate Floyd Landis won't distract him from his goal to win a record eighth Tour de France. "It will be the opposite. It's going to inspire me," he said. Good old Lance is back!

Heading into his last Tour de France, Lance Armstrong says recent allegations that he doped during his career from former teammate Floyd Landis won't distract him from his goal to win a record eighth Tour.

The 38-year-old Armstrong said on Thursday he was in a better shape than last year, when he capped his return to competition with a third-place finish in the showcase event following a 3-½ year retirement.

Armstrong said he won't let any accusation from Landis "deter me. In fact, in the end, it will be the opposite. It's going to inspire me."

Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, recently claimed in e-mails to cycling officials and sponsors that Armstrong tested positive for EPO at the Tour de Suisse in 2002 and paid off former International Cycling Union boss Hein Verbruggen to keep it quiet. Armstrong won the 2001 Swiss race, but did not compete there in 2002.

Landis also alleged that Armstrong taught other riders to cheat.

"I don't want to get into it. It's not worth it," Armstrong said about Landis' accusations.

"I did my first Tour in 1993 and now it's 2010. And I won a stage in 1993 as a 20-year-old. I've been at the front of my sport since the day I showed up. And in the process, there have been a ton of questions and a ton of scrutiny and a lot of controls and a lot of investigations. And I'm still here. I don't see any other example in cycling or in any other sports."

Armstrong and Landis rode together for three years with the U.S. Postal team. Landis left in 2005 to join Phonak.

"I understand that media love the sensationalist stories and they love the salacious and the ones that include accusations, that include all the blood and sex and drugs," Armstrong said in a 45-minute interview before his team RadioShack's official presentation.

"They love that. But at the end of the day, I think my career speaks for itself."

The Tour starts on Saturday in the Dutch port of Rotterdam with an 8.9-kilometer prologue. Armstrong confirmed it will be his last Tour and said he was likely to ride only races related to his anti-cancer charity foundation next year.

Landis' allegations have reportedly drawn the attention of U.S. Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky, the lead investigator in the BALCO doping case.

Armstrong said Novitzky had not contacted him or his lawyers and denied reports alleging his former wife Kristin decided to cooperate with him, saying she and the cancer survivor have "a very strong relationship."

"I'm not sure he would call me," Armstrong said of Novitzky. "We haven't heard."

Armstrong added he decided that this Tour would be his last because he was

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