The bombshell doping accusations from Floyd Landis reverberated throughout the cycling world today, prompting denials from everyone he named, including Lance Armstrong and numerous other cyclists and teams. The question now is: can Landis prove anything he said?
Yes, according to a doping expert.
"It may be that we're going to find people who doped a number of years ago, couldn't find it, now with new detection techniques we can look backwards and find that they did dope in years past," said Dr. Gary Wadler, a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency and an expert in the field of drug use in sports.
The World Anti-Doping Agency keeps urine samples for eight years. The technology used to detect doping has made significant advances since 2002, so a cyclist that passed a drug test eight years ago may now be found to have used illegal substances after all.CBSSports.com: Landis Comes Clean, Accuses Armstrong
Landis admitted to using performance enhancing drugs for years, but all of the cyclists and teams he also accused of doping have denied any wrongdoing.
"I have nothing to hide," said Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner who has never been found to have used banned substances. "History speaks for itself here."
But science, not history, may have the last word on how widespread doping has been in cycling over the past several years. The World Anti-Doping Agency said they would open an investigation into Landis' allegations, and new doping detection methods will be a part of that.
"Whether Landis' assertions are correct or not there's no question we're getting better technology to detect prohibited substances that are abused," Wadler said. "We'll be able to look backwards as far back as eight years to see if at the time of a given event when the specimen was collected if there were doping agents in the urine."
Dr. Wadler refused to speculate whether he thought any of the cyclists accused by Landis would turn out to have used banned substances - "only Lance Armstrong knows if he has something to hide or not," he said - but he had two words of advice for those who think they may have gotten away with doping in the past.
"Athlete beware," he said.