Arm­strong re­sponds to lat­est al­le­ga­tions

‘Fair in­ves­ti­ga­tion’ fine, but not ‘witch hunt,’ he says

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Jamey Keaten

CHAMBERY, France — Lance Arm­strong said Wed­nes­day he will co­op­er­ate with a “fair in­ves­ti­ga­tion” but not a “witch hunt” into al­le­ga­tions that he and his for­mer cy­cling team were in­volved in dop­ing.

Arm­strong was re­spond­ing to re­ports of a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion of pos­si­ble fraud and dop­ing charges against him and for­mer as­so­ci­ates. He spoke be­fore the 10th stage of the Tour de France, where he is 31st over­all.

The New York Times re­ported that au­thor­i­ties have is­sued grand jury sub­poe­nas to wit­nesses as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions made by Amer­i­can cy­clist Floyd Lan­dis.

Lan­dis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour ti­tle for dop­ing, said the use of banned sub­stances was com­mon on the U.S. Postal team when he rode with Arm­strong.

“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,” the seven-time Tour de France win­ner and can­cer sur­vivor said. “I’ve done too many good things for too many peo­ple.”

The Aus­ti­nite said he had not been sub­poe­naed or con­tacted by lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor Jeff Novitzky. He said he wasn’t aware of any rid­ers who have been sub­poe­naed.

Arm­strong said sto­ries are be­ing leaked to the me­dia as part of an “agenda” against him and ques­tioned the need for a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Would the Amer­i­can peo­ple feel like this is a good use of their tax dol­lars?” he said. “That’s for them to de­cide.”

Arm­strong has said that Lan­dis, who re­cently ad­mit­ted to dop­ing af­ter years of de­nials, can­not be be­lieved. He also said he didn’t be­lieve that other rid­ers had come for­ward with sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions.

“I don’t think the govern­ment will build a case on Floyd Lan­dis,” said Arm­strong, who has never tested pos­i­tive for use of banned sub­stances. “His cred­i­bil­ity left a long time ago.”

Arm­strong said the al­le­ga­tions should be in­ves­ti­gated by the in­ter­na­tional cy­cling body, UCI, or the World An­ti­Dop­ing Agency.

“If you think that you have an ath­lete that’s bro­ken the rules — this is not base­ball, this is not foot­ball … we have a gov­ern­ing body to deal with that,” he said. “I have had 500 (dop­ing) con­trols in my day. I have no prob­lem play­ing by those rules.”

Arm­strong re­peat­edly has de­nied any in­volve­ment in dop­ing and re­it­er­ated that po­si­tion again Wed­nes­day.

“As long as I live I will deny that,” he said. “There is ab­so­lutely no way I forced peo­ple, en­cour­aged peo­ple, told peo­ple, helped peo­ple, fa­cil­i­tated … Ab­so­lutely not. 100 per­cent.”

Arm­strong also de­nied that he was ever a part owner of the Postal Ser­vice team, which was owned by Tail­wind Sports.

“I was a rider on the team, I was con­tracted with Tail­wind Sports, I never had any deal­ings — ANY — with the Postal Ser­vice — zero,” he said.

“I didn’t own the com­pany. I didn’t have an eq­uity stake. I didn’t have a profit stake, I didn’t have a seat on the board. I can’t be any clearer than that.”

Lance Arm­strong

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