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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Statement from Lance Armstrong regarding the Le Monde allegations

June 23, 2006

I recently won a major arbitration, defeating allegations of performance enhancing drugs, after a three week trial. Several accusations made the subject of prior rumours were fully and finally considered by an impartial panel which heard many witnesses under oath. After years of litigation and three weeks of trial, and "having considered the evidence and testimony" the panel ordered the insurance company to pay, not the $5mm owed, but that $5mm and an additional $2.5mm, which confirms the baseless nature of the accusations. The allegations were rejected. It's over. We won. They lost. I was yet again completely vindicated

After having been illegally provided selective items from that trial, and on the eve of the 2006 Tour de France, a French newspaper again publishes stale, unfounded and untrue allegations about me. Any assertion that drug-related issues were not fully and finally considered is false; had the trial concerned only whether the money was owed because of my 2004 victory, the proceedings would have consumed less than an hour.

The latest story, which alleges an admission of using performance enhancing drugs in a hospital in 1996, is today as absurd and untrue as when it was first circulated years ago. It never happened. The hospital allegation was made against me during a trial before three highly astute and respected arbitrators by an insurance company as its basis for not paying a $5mm bonus (and to recover $4.5mm paid for 2002 and 2003 bonuses) for winning the 2004 Tour de France. Not only did I win this trial, but the company was ordered to pay the $5mm plus an additional $2.5mm in penalty.

The event reported in France never happened and the evidence presented to the panel proved it never happened. The two persons relied upon by the French newspaper had a different story than the other 8 people in the room. Mr. and Mrs. Andreu stated that they left the room right after the statement, could remember no other questions asked before or after, no details of who I was allegedly talking to, whether men or women, whether doctors or residents, or why I would have been asked this information in front of 10 people, including my mother, in a TV room watching the Dallas Cowboys play football on a Sunday afternoon. By that Sunday, I had been in the hospital 11 days, had given numerous medical histories, previously undergone a regimen of intensive chemotherapy, and undergone extensive brain surgery on the prior Thursday. Ms. Andreu confirmed her ignorance of steroids prescribed as part of my post-operative treatment and of EPO also included in my required post-operative regimen, subjects which could conceivably arisen under the circumstances.

In addition to sworn testimony to the contrary by others present, the panel (and the insurance company) were provided certified copies of all medical records by the Indiana cancer hospital. While any suggestion that medical professionals did not take my medical history until three days after conducting extensive brain surgery is, on its face, preposterous, it is inconceivable that the records, which contain a description of every interaction with me, would not reflect such a critical response. There is no suggestion of either such a question or response in over 20 medical histories recorded among the 280 pages of records compiled during my hospital stay. My doctor, one of the premier cancer specialists in the country, also testified no such statement was made by me to him and a statement made to another would have to appear in the records. It's not there because it never happened.

I respected the panel's unconditional prohibition against providing any documents or testimony to others, and made no mention of this complete victory. Others did not, as selected items have apparently been recently released to the press. We have instituted proceedings to determine who did so; ironically, but predictably, our investigation to date has revealed that the only person to whom documents have been provided by any trial participant is Richard Pound of WADA. It is indeed coincidental that the documents provided to the press surfaced shortly after the independent investigator from the UCI released his report which exonerated me and was sharply critical of Mr. Pound's conduct.

My life and all my energy are devoted to the cure and treatment of cancer and cancer survivors. During my professional cycling career, particularly during its last seven years, I have had to repeatedly address this issue, which I have willingly done. Further discussion by me serves no purpose other than to dignify accusations which have been repeatedly investigated and rejected by every body, tribunal and court to consider them. I will not further dignify them, although I have authorized my legal representatives to provide responsive documents when appropriate.

See also: New allegations against Armstrong

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)