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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Cycling News Flash for September 10, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan

Armstrong legal update: Anderson judgement; Le Monde defamation case

Encouraged by UCI statement - "asking many of the right questions" says Armstrong

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Two of the pending legal cases that have been bedeviling Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong appear to have made some progress to being resolved. Although Armstrong was on his way to attend his friend and team-mate George Hincapie's celebration in Greenville, SC, Armstrong's agent Bill Stapleton told Cyclingnews that "Lance feels totally vindicated about the Mike Anderson case; the ruling [for summary judgment and dismissal of his claims] is very significant; it shows that [Anderson's] accusations are without merit in an American court."

Tim Herman, Armstrong's attorney in Austin, Texas, explained to Cyclingnews that Texas State District Judge Margaret Cooper ruled in favour of [Armstrong and his personal management company Luke David LLC] with a motion for summary judgment that has dismissed Mike Anderson's claims of breach of contract and that Armstrong has defrauded the former Austin bike shop employee, who served as Armstrong's assistant from 2002-2004. "This totally vindicates Lance," explained Herman. "Anderson has one more 'straggling' claim about pay, but there is not much to that claim." Herman will now file other motions to dismiss Andersons' other claims, "but they are insignificant," he said.

Bill Stapleton emphatically told Cyclingnews, "this summary judgment totally vindicates Armstrong's claim that there was no contract, no fraud or abuse of Anderson". Herman elaborated by saying: "Yes, Anderson's claims can be appealed but the summary judgment and dismissal of his claims takes the guts out of any appeal."

Stapleton added, "we have heard earlier this week that the French judge in charge of the alleged defamation case [by Italian rider Filippo Simeoni] over Armstrong's comments in Le Monde will also be dismissed," but the French justice system has not communicated when the formal case closure will be forthcoming.

As for the ongoing investigation against Armstrong by the Annecy prosecutor, stemming from depositions from Emma O'Reilly given to the Brigade de lutte contre le trafic des stupéfiants (BLTS), based in the French Justice Ministry in the Quai d'Orfevres, Stapleton knows nothing. "We have had no notification whatsoever in this matter," he said. "There is no substance to any of this and as for the investigators who were supposedly following our team in the Tour de France; all we know is what we read in the paper."

Cyclingnews asked Stapleton to comment on the UCI statement that was released Friday about L'Equipe's allegations about Lance Armstrong. He replied, "Lance is encouraged and pleased to see that they are taking a full and complete course of investigation in this matter. We found the UCI statement encouraging, because it was a meaningful investigation asking the right questions."

Continued Stapleton, "The UCI is asking WADA and the French lab (LNDD) for documents that would back up these claims. They are asking how confidentiality can be breached, and what the motives of certain people are. Like Dick Pound's pronouncement of [Armstrong's] guilt without any supporting documentation - Pound's public pronouncements have been inappropriate. And how all these alleged events brings all drug testing policies into question. If I was an Olympic athlete and if saw this happen when I was competing, I would be very concerned!"

Armstrong also issued his own statement on the UCI press release:

"I'm pleased the UCI is investigating this entire matter thoroughly, because any professional investigation will reveal that the allegations made by a French sports tabloid have no basis because I never used any performance enhancing drugs. Based on the translation I read of the press release, I'm pleased that the UCI seems to be asking many of the right questions."

Cyclingnews coverage of the L'Equipe allegations

June 27, 2006 - Carmichael defends Armstrong, Armstrong answers L'Equipe & LeMond
June 26, 2006 - LeMond: "Armstrong threatened my life"
June 19, 2006 - Armstrong calls for Pound's exit
June 18, 2006 - Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound
June 4, 2006 - UCI hits back at WADA
June 3, 2006 - WADA slams the Vrijman report
June 2, 2006 - L'Equipe stands by its story, UCI supports Vrijman's findings
June 1, 2006 - UCI, WADA and Armstrong react to Vrijman's report
May 31, 2006 - UCI lawyer asks for Armstrong's name to be cleared
May 14, 2006 - Two more weeks for Armstrong investigation

Click here for full coverage of the L'Equipe allegations.

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