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Cyclist Floyd Landis won the 2006 Tour de France. Urine tests later revealed that he was using performance-enhancing drugs, and he was banned from the sport for two years.
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"I can never undo what happened," he said. "I can never undo having lied to people but if, in some small way, making restitution helps them to forgive me, then that's a small step in the right direction."
but was banned from cycling for two years. In 2010, Landis admitted to using banned substances, including testosterone. Soon after, he received fraud charges for deceiving hundreds of supporters, who had contributed nearly $1 million to a fund that Landis created in 2007, in an effort to battle his drug charges.
Born on October 14, 1975 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Floyd Landis is the second oldest of six children in an observant Mennonite family. Landis began riding mountain bikes as a teenager. At age 20, he moved to California to race road bikes. A time-trial specialist and strong climber, Landis turned pro in 1999 with the Mercury Cycling Team.
From 2002 to 2004, Landis rode with the U.S. Postal team, helping teammate Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France each year. Landis then decided to team with Phonak instead of joining U.S. Postal's new incarnation as the Discovery Channel team. The move unwittingly started a feud with Armstrong; the two cyclists were even seen shouting at each other from their bikes during several stages of the 2005 Tour de France, which Armstrong won.
In 2006, Landis made an impressive show at the Tour de France, including a sensational ride in stage 17, when his solo breakaway over the French mountains beat the field by nearly six minutes. The win was particularly remarkable given that Landis was planning to have hip-replacement surgery later that year. After winning the prestigious Tour, however, Landis's urine tests revealed traces of synthetic testosterone—a banned performance-enhancing drug—and he was fired from Phonak.
In May 2007, Landis testified before a three-member panel, stating that he had not used banned drugs and citing incompetence within the French laboratory that had tested his urine. Landis ultimately lost his doping case and, subsequently, his Tour de France title.
On September 20, 2007, the American Arbitration Association upheld the results of Landis's earlier urine test, providing new test results showing that the American cyclist had used synthetic testosterone to fuel his spectacular comeback victory in 2006. He was also subject to a two-year ban, retroactive to January 30, 2007. The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency later said in a statement that the ruling was "a victory for all clean athletes and everyone who values fair and honest competition." Landis, who steadfastly denied using performance-enhancing drugs, called the ruling "a blow to athletes and cyclists everywhere."
However, nearly four years later, in May 2010, Landis admitted to using banned drugs throughout his professional cycling career, including the 2006 Tour.
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For some athletes, the risk of losing—or even being less than the best—is worse than the many consequences of doping in professional sports, and for decades, performance-enhancing drug controversies have made headlines around the world. Other athletes have garnered media attention, criminal charges and sporting suspensions for their recreational drug use. Biography.com examines some of the world's greatest athletes to ever fall from fame, whose names have been tarnished by drugs scandals, including Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Marion Jones, Andre Agassi, Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong.
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