Floyd Landis ignored desperate pleas from his sponsor to avoid a public fight with Lance Armstrong, according to e-mails the seven-time Tour de France champion released in trying to prove the disgraced cyclist has "zero credibility."
Armstrong released the messages yesterday in a second day of attacks on Landis, who accused cycling's biggest star of doping, teaching other riders to cheat and paying off a top cycling official after allegedly testing positive in 2002.
Armstrong has denied those allegations.
Landis did not respond to an e-mail from the Associated Press. His longtime sponsor, Dr. Brent Kay, also did not return a request for comment.
Kay, a cycling enthusiast and one of Landis' most ardent supporters, financially and otherwise, has steadfastly said he believes Landis wasn't guilty of doping when he won cycling's most famous race in 2006.
Kay, while reaffirming to Landis that he would support him no matter what, asked him to call a truce with Armstrong and suggested he ride on the star's team.
"If either side does not like this idea just throw this in the trash and be done with it, have the press conference and get it over with. But, once again, I'm asking you to do this for me and my family so we can move on with our lives and leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind," Kay wrote in an April 28 e-mail to Landis that he forwarded to Armstrong on May 3.
Less than a month later, Landis went public with his e-mails, not only targeting Armstrong but Tour of California officials, too, for not inviting his team to participate in the race.
Race director Andrew Messick said in an e-mail response that he didn't believe Landis' current team could handle the challenge of an 800-mile stage race.
Among the allegations Landis made in e-mails: he and Armstrong discussed using the blood-boosting EPO; he was asked to monitor the temperature of blood kept in a refrigerator inside Armstrong's apartment in the pro-cycling hotbed of Girona, Spain, for use in transfusions; many other elite American riders, including Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie and Dave Zabriskie, were involved, as were USA Cycling officials.
In other cycling news:
* Michael Rogers retained the overall lead in the Tour of California, after he finished third in the 15,000-foot climb through the San Bernardino Mountains, the first mountain stage in the race's 5-year history. Peter Sagan won the brutal mountain stage.
* Brian Vickers is being treated with a blood thinner and will miss the remainder of the NASCAR season because of blood clots in his lungs and left leg, discovered after he was hospitalized with chest pains before last weekend's race at Dover.
* Qualifying for the NASCAR All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., was rained out, giving Kurt Busch the pole, based on the qualifying draw.
* Jeff Jordan, Michael Jordan's eldest son, was given his release at Illinois so that he can transfer to another school.
* BCS executive director Bill Hancock suggested in a letter posted on the NCAA website that higher education officials should make the decisions about college football without interference from the U.S. government.
* The Court of Arbitration in Sports, ruled in favor of swimmer Jessica Hardy, agreeing a contaminated supplement was to blame for a positive drug test that kept her out of the Beijing Olympics. *