AEG endured more than its share of drama last year after the death of Michael Jackson. This year, the drama continues – but this time, the sensational headlines are coming from the sports world.
AEG Sports recently wrapped its fifth edition of the Amgen Tour of California which, in a sense, had its validation as a world-class cycling event further sealed when it was used as a showcase on which to hang a doping scandal.
Just prior to the launch of the Tour’s fifth stage May 22 – and smack dab in the middle of the weeklong race – former ToC winner Floyd Landis accused Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and several other former teammates of using performance-enhancing drugs and other scandalous behavior. Landis was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title when he tested positive for PEDs. He insisted he didn’t use the drugs, until he admitted he did.
After Armstrong crashed out during Stage 5 outside the farming burg of Visalia, Calif., his attorney published a response and a series of damning e-mails on the TeamRadioShack website. Among them were exchanges by Landis and a sponsor with AEG Sports President Andrew Messick – some of which implied Landis would air his dirty laundry during the race if he was not allowed to enter.
Neither Landis nor his team was invited to compete.
Additionally, the e-mail exchange revealed Landis suggested the Tour, which is owned by AEG Sports, refund the $40,000 paid by his title sponsor for a VIP tent at the Los Angeles time trial in the event his team was not added. Landis made a brief appearance at the tent during that Tour of California stage.
In the meantime, a race was run and Australian Michael Rogers was the winner, besting David Zabriskie and Leipheimer, the previous three-time champ.