Italian rider claims Lance paid him to throw a race
RETIRED Italian rider Roberto Gaggioli told yesterday’s Corriere della Sera that Lance Armstrong paid him $100 000 in 1993 in order to win the Million Dollar Race in the USA.
“It was a young American colleague,” Gaggioli, who is now 51, was quoted as saying. “He offered me a panettone (a traditional Italian Christmas cake) as a present and wished me a merry Christmas. In the box there were $100 000 in small bills. That colleague was Lance Armstrong.
“Lance said that my team, Coors Light, had agreed to it. I understood that it had all been decided,” added Gaggioli in reference to Armstrong’s win in the race in Philadelphia which was crucial to him winning the $1-million prize for the victor of three races held over 21 days.
The Million Dollar Race was comprised the Pittsburgh Classic, the West Virginia Classic and the CoreStates race.
“Two laps from the end, I was in a breakaway with Lance, Bobby Julich and some Italian riders. When Lance made a sign, I turned away as if not to see that he had escaped. He broke away to win.”
The newspaper said other riders had also been bought, and cited one, Roberto Pelliconi, who said: “Angelo Canzonieri and Lance agreed on a fee of 50, Angelo thought he meant dollars but Lance meant lire. At the Tour of Lombardy he gave us 50 million (lire).”
Armstrong, who was riding for Motorola at the time, was officially stripped of his seven Tour de France wins in 2012 after being found guilty of a string of doping offences. He admitted earlier this year that he had cheated. – AFP