Two of Lance Armstrong’s eight teammates in the 1999 Tour de France admitted taking the banned performance-enhancing substance EPO in preparing for that competition, The New York Times reports.
The 1999 race won Armstrong the first of his record seven Tour de France titles.
Frankie Andreu, 39, a retired captain of the U.S. Postal Service team, and another rider (who did not want his name used) both admitted doping in interviews with the newspaper. Both said they never saw Armstrong, who turns 35 next week, take any banned substances.
Andreu said he is stepping forward at this time because he thought doping was tainting the image of cycling. “There are two levels of guys,” he said. “The guys that cheat and guys that are just trying to survive.”
Andreu said that he took EPO for only a few races.
The admissions come less than three months after Armstrong himself was cleared of doping charges in the 1999 race, and just weeks after 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis tested positive for excessive amounts of testosterone. (He denied using banned substances.)
Several attempts by The Times to reach Armstrong or his representatives were unsuccessful, though his agent, Bill Stapleton, e-mailed the newspaper on Monday to say Armstrong was in Minneapolis at a meeting of the President’s Cancer Panel and not be available for comment.
A doping investigation at the start of this year’s Tour de France implicated nearly 60 racers, including Landis, who was the third of Armstrong’s former lieutenants to fail a drug test after serving as lead rider in his own right.