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Cyclist Fights Doping Claims

Former assistant details allegations against Armstrong in book. His lawyers file libel suits.

June 16, 2004|From Associated Press

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Lance Armstrong promised on Tuesday to take action against "absolutely untrue" doping accusations.

Only 2 1/2 weeks before he begins his attempt to win an unprecedented sixth consecutive Tour de France, Armstrong, 32, denied claims by a former assistant in a new book. The assistant says Armstrong once asked her to dispose of used syringes and to give him makeup to conceal needle marks on his arms.

"I can absolutely confirm that we don't use doping products," Armstrong said. "This is not the first time I've lived through this. I heard it in 1999. I heard it in 2002, again in 2003. It happens all the time."

Armstrong said he usually ignores such claims but decided he had had enough.

"We're sick and tired of these allegations, and we're going to do everything we can to fight them," he said. "They're absolutely untrue."

The latest accusations appear in the French-language book "L.A. Confidential, the Secrets of Lance Armstrong" by David Walsh and Pierre Ballester.

The heart of the accusations come from Emma O'Reilly, who worked for several years as Armstrong's masseuse, physical therapist and assistant.

Armstrong's lawyers said they were starting libel proceedings in France and Britain against Walsh and Ballester, as well as the book's publishers and publications that reprinted excerpts from the book, which was released Tuesday. Excerpts were published Monday in France's L'Express magazine.

Walsh told the International Herald Tribune: "It's all circumstantial evidence. We don't actually prove anything. We just set out the facts and let the reader decide for himself who's telling the truth. But we do give names for every accusation."

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