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Company Withholds Bonus for Armstrong

September 24, 2004|From Associated Press

DALLAS — The company that owes Lance Armstrong $5 million for winning a record sixth straight Tour de France is withholding payment of the bonus, citing allegations in a French book that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

SCA Promotions points to doping allegations contained in "L.A. Confidential, the Secrets of Lance Armstrong," published in June by La Martiniere. Armstrong has denounced the book's claims as "absolutely untrue" and launched defamation lawsuits against the publisher and authors.

Chris Compton, an attorney for SCA, said the company wanted to see Armstrong's medical records before releasing the money.

"We've requested [drug] test results to disprove the allegations -- clean test results that should be easily attainable," he said Thursday. "We're not planning on releasing them to the media or doing anything other than verifying that they exist."

Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service cycling team filed suit this month in state court in Dallas, claiming SCA didn't have the right to question Armstrong's Tour victories, which were upheld by cycling authorities.

The team, jointly owned and managed by Tailwind Sports and Capital Sports and Entertainment, hopes to resolve the dispute through arbitration.

The book, written by David Walsh and Pierre Ballester, relies in part on allegations by a former Armstrong assistant, Emma O'Reilly.

In it, she claims Armstrong once asked her to get rid of syringes and give him makeup to conceal needle marks on his arm. She acknowledged she didn't know what was in the syringes.

After Armstrong's third Tour victory in 2001, Tailwind paid SCA a $420,000 premium to insure the risk for his bonuses in future years would be met by SCA.

SCA paid Armstrong $1.5 million in 2002 and $3 million in 2003.

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