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Report: Probe could end Lance

2010-07-18 17:07

Revel - Greg LeMond believes a federal probe into fellow Tour de Frace winner Lance Armstrong should not be taken lightly, and could even bring about the downfall of the world's most famous cyclist.

"Up until now, he has achieved great things, if you consider he did it fairly, which I don't believe," LeMond said in an interview conducted in French with the Journal Du Dimanche newspaper.

"For him, it's the beginning of the end."

Seven-time champion Armstrong is racing his final Tour campaign amid damaging accusations by former teammate Floyd Landis that their former team, US Postal, was involved in systematic doping practices.

A federal investigation into Landis's claims has been launched and is being led by Jeff Novitzky, the same federal agent whose probe into the BALCO doping scandal brought about the downfall of athletics star Marion Jones.

Grand jury subpoenas were issued to potential witnesses in the probe this week in a move that demonstrates how seriously the authorities are taking allegations made by Landis.

LeMond, along with several of Armstrong's former teammates, is one of several witnesses who has been issued a subpoena. Although he has "yet to decide" on whether he will go, his testimony could be valuable.

The three-time yellow jersey champion has been an advocate of clean cycling for the past decade, and subsequent questioning of Armstrong's record-setting performances have led to the pair having a turbulent relationship.

Some fans claim LeMond is bitter because Armstrong went on to surpass his record for an American on the race, but he has not limited his queries to Armstrong. Last year he questioned whether Spain's reigning champion, Alberto Contador, was riding clean.

LeMond said he has taken no particular enjoyment from seeing Armstrong suffer on what has been a disastrous farewell campaign.

He believes the Texan faces more pressing concerns than the multiple crashes he has suffered in the past two weeks.

"Seeing him suffer doesn't affect me at all. I would even have preferred it if he hadn't crashed," added LeMond, who won the race in 1986, 1989 and 1990.

He added: "The federal investigation is very serious, more than people believe.

"Given everything that he has been accused of recently, I'm even surprised he decided to race the Tour. I don't know how he's managed to stay concentrated on the race.

"It will be interesting to see if he collaborates with the investigation."

Armstrong said earlier this week he would be prepared to cooperate with any investigation, provided it did not become a "witch hunt".

"Like I said, as long as we have a legitimate and credible and fair investigation, we'll be happy to cooperate, but I'm not going to participate in any kind of witch hunt," he said.

And while Armstrong continues to question the credibility of Landis, who denied for four years that he had doped before finally confessing two months ago in a bid to "clear his conscience", LeMond has no doubts.

He claimed that friends of Landis were even being threatened by Armstrong.

"Listen, Landis spoke out because Armstrong was going after him. He made threats against his (Landis's) friends," added LeMond.

"I believe Landis because everything he's said, I've already heard. There's a major difference between a guy like Ivan Basso (who was banned for two years for doping) and Armstrong. Basso doesn't threaten people!

"When it comes to manipulating people, Armstrong is the undisputed champion."

AFP

Comments
  • Damn - 2010-07-18 17:36

    I've thought since the day he won his first TDF. Let's hope he gets exposed for the fraud that he is!

  • Gawie - 2010-07-18 17:46

    Screw it! I'm also going to start doping!!!!!

  • sean - 2010-07-18 18:01

    Anyone who rides a bike with no engine over mountains must be on drugs.

  • Terrytit - 2010-07-18 18:21

    For all you Lance Armstrong haters its time you wake up accept what he has achieved, if there is any finger pointing to be done it should be directed at the cycling federations, this guy has been tested time and time again and always comes out clean. So put the blame at the feet of the cycling federations. The French and L'Equipe are behind the accusations. (Sour Grapes)

  • Jakes - 2010-07-18 18:38

    Yeah, if there is smoke, there is a fire. How did Lemond did it for 3 years, maybe he was also doping? Landis was the biggest farce I have ever seen, fighting and living a lie for 4 years. He went on the podium and received the trophy, knowing that he was lying. What a whimp. With the Cycling Federation clamping down on doping like they did the last few years, I think it is extremely difficult to still dope, but I know I am wrong, because there is a wonderful world full of money,fame, sponsorships, out there, and with today's morals, nothing will stand in anybody's way to grab it regardless.

  • Chris - 2010-07-18 18:56

    I'm happy to settle for the truth.........personally I hope it goes Lance's way.

  • very funny @ Sean - 2010-07-18 19:46

    Hey Sean, thanks for a good laugh.

  • Troll - 2010-07-19 08:20

    Testing negative means nothing!! Jan Ulrich has not tested positive for doping yet last week his team manager admitted to systematic doping. How long was Marion Jones "clean" before she finally got bust?

  • ruhan - 2010-07-19 22:19

    Armstrong is the most tested sports star in the history of sport, don't you think they would have found something by now, he's been a pro for so long. Stop being so jealous and move on to more important things

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