Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl
Lance Armstrong says he has nothing to worry about “on any level” over new doping allegations raised in a report by Sports Illustrated.
The seven-time Tour de France winner curtly brushed aside questions about the story before taking part in Wednesday’s second stage of the Tour Down Under. A story in Sports Illustrated challenges Armstrong’s statements that he cut ties to a controversial Italian doctor and training adviser who has long been accused of helping cyclists cheat.
In a report posted Tuesday on its website, the magazine previewed a longer investigative piece that will appear in this week’s issue, available Wednesday.
Armstrong repeatedly refused to comment on the report Wednesday before saying he had perused it and “I have nothing to worry about on any level.” Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong’s mentor and the manager of this Radio Shack team, also refused to discuss the report.
Without naming its source, SI says that when Italian authorities raided the home of Armstrong teammate Yaroslav Popovych last November in Italy, they found texts and e-mails linking Armstrong’s team with Dr. Michele Ferrari as recently as 2009.
Armstrong publicly severed his connection with Ferrari in 2004, amid accusations the doctor aided another rider in using performance-enhancing drugs. Ferrari was convicted and then later cleared of criminal charges on appeal.
Former teammate Floyd Landis also told the magazine that in 2003 Swiss customs officials found drugs and syringes in Armstrong’s duffel bag but did not detain him. Additionally, SI reported that Armstrong tested over the testosterone-epitestosterone ratio limit three times, but each test could not be confirmed and thus was not reported as a positive. Armstrong has said he never used performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong spokesman Mark Fabiani calls the report “old news from the same old discredited sources.”
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has been hearing evidence for months on cheating in professional cycling. The investigation turned toward Armstrong — and several of his associates have testified before the panel — since Landis accused the seven-time Tour de France winner of systematic doping.
Armstrong won the Tour de France every year from 1999 to 2005. He’s currently competing in the Tour Down Under in Australia, which he says will be his last race outside the United States.