AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Lance Armstrong’s attorney has lashed out at a report that a former teammate of the seven-time Tour de France champion told investigators Armstrong knew of widespread performance-enhancing drug use on the U.S. Postal Service team.
Attorney Bryan D. Daly said there are hundreds of former Armstrong teammates who would deny he broke the rules to win.
The New York Times reported Thursday that a cyclist identified only as a former Armstrong teammate backed up claims by Floyd Landis that the Postal Service team engaged in systematic doping with Armstrong’s knowledge and approval.
The unidentified cyclist told the newspaper he had spoken with federal investigators looking into cheating in pro cycling. Prosecutors and special agent Jeff Novitzky of the Food and Drug Administration are running the probe, which is focused on a sport that Armstrong once dominated with consecutive Tour victories from 1999-2005.
Armstrong has strongly denied any allegations that he doped.
The unidentified cyclist detailed some of his own drug use to investigators, even though he has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs or methods, the newspaper reported. He said he has not been called to testify before the grand jury in Los Angeles that has been convened for the case.
Daly released a statement Thursday afternoon saying the report contains “inappropriate leaks designed to create a circus-like atmosphere.”
“To the extent that any riders are suggesting that Lance Armstrong violated cycling rules or doped, they are either mistaken or not telling the truth. Lance has ridden with hundreds of riders over the years who will support his position, and over all that time he has never failed even a single test,” Daly said.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, declined comment about the report and Daly’s reaction to it.
Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour title after failing a doping test, recently dropped longtime denials and said he used drugs during the height of his career. He implicated several cyclists, Armstrong among them.
Armstrong’s attorneys have said the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has been trying to broker deals with cyclists who testify or produce evidence against Armstrong. If those riders have used performance-enhancing drugs, they could receive reduced punishment, Armstrong’s attorneys have said.
More riders are expected to meet with the grand jury as early as next week, people close to the investigation told The Times.
“We understand that riders may be being offered sweetheart deals to change testimony that they have given in the past, under oath,” Daly said. “The power of the federal government is being abused to pursue dated and discredited allegations, and that’s flat-out wrong, unethical, un-American, and a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
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