Italian says that the truth about Armstrong is now emerging
Filippo Simeoni has applauded Floyd Landis for “finally setting the record straight” about the Italian’s infamous clash with Lance Armstrong in the 2004 Tour de France.
In an interview with Paul Kimmage of the Sunday Times, Landis spoke of his disgust at his then team-mate Armstrong chasing Simeoni in stage 18 of that 2004 Tour from Annemasse to Lons-le-Saunier. Two years earlier, Simeoni had testified in court against Michele Ferrari – the same Italian doctor who, Landis claims, masterminded his and Armstrong’s doping programme at US Postal.
Armstrong has rejected Landis’s allegations and denied that he doped under Ferrari’s or anyone else’s supervision on numerous occasions.
Landis told Kimmage that he was “extremely upset” by Armstrong’s victimization of Simeoni. He also claimed he had told US Postal Service directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel during that 18th stage that Armstrong looked “like an idiot”.
Simeoni said on Wednesday that “the truth about that Tour, Armstrong and what kind of person he is, is slowly coming out”.
“I was happy to read what Landis said,” Simeoni told Cyclingnews on Wednesday. “It merely confirms that I told the truth all along about that incident, and that Armstrong was in the wrong. The truth about him is slowly coming out. I have faith in the federal agents investigating him in the United States, and I’m curious to see what else they find out over the coming months.”
Simeoni also praised Landis for belatedly coming clean about his own doping. In his interview with Kimmage, Landis spoke of his lack of faith in the cycling authorities, and its influence on what was nonetheless his conscious and inexcusable decision to take drugs. Simeoni, likewise, admitted under oath in 2002 that Ferrari had helped him to dope in the late 1990s – a time when the use of “illegal aids” was almost universal but not justifiable.
“It seems as though Landis’s conscience has caught up with him. It’s much better late than never, for him and the sport,” Simeoni, who now owns and runs a bar in Sezze in central Italy, commented.
“I always said that doping was generalized and you could say even democratic up to the time when they developed a test for EPO, then it became elitist. You needed cutting-edge methods to get around the tests from that point on – methods that often only the big riders and teams could access or afford. If Landis is saying that corruption was another way around the tests, I can’t confirm it because I was in small teams and had no exposure to that, but I can believe it, with all of the economic interests at play. As I said before, I’m very curious to see what the US government and Jeff Novitzky uncover in their investigation…”
Simeoni added finally that he has never been contacted by Novitzky within the scope of the federal investigation.
- Tour de France