Armstrong denies allegations

Suspects Pound to have leaked the documents

After the new allegations made against Lance Armstrong by French newspaper Le Monde, according to which Armstrong admitted in 1996 that he had used performance-enhancing substances before his cancer illness, the seven-time Tour de France winner strongly denied the accusations. Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman called the claim "absurd", and Dr. Craig Nichols, who treated Armstrong at Indiana University Medical Center when the Texan was ill with testicular cancer, also refuted the statements.

The allegations were made by Frankie and Betsy Andreu under oath in the trial between Lance Armstrong and the SCA Promotions, a Dallas-based insurance company, in January 2006 and October 2005, which has since been dropped in favour of Armstrong. The state district judge in Dallas awarded him $5 million, and $181,327.87 interest, and an additional $2.5 million, in February 2006. The French newspaper published the statements made against Armstrong on Friday, June 22, in the lead up to L'Equipe, which will reveal them on Saturday, just one week before the start of the Tour de France.

Dr. Craig Nichols, who was also heard in the trial, has said that he did not recall Armstrong to have said that he had used banned substances in cycling. In a sworn affidavit, Nichols said he and other medical personnel visited with Armstrong that day about his medical history before he started chemotherapy.

"Lance Armstrong never admitted, suggested or indicated that he has ever taken performance-enhancing drugs. Had this been disclosed to me, I would have recorded it, or been aware of it, as a pertinent aspect of Lance Armstrong's past medical history as I always do," Nichols said. "Had I been present at any such 'confession,' I would most certainly have vividly recalled the fact," Nichols said. "I would have recorded such a confession as a matter of form, as indeed, would have my colleagues. None was recorded."

Armstrong himself submitted a written statement to the media, denying the accusations and calling them "absurd and untrue". Moreover, Armstrong stated that he had reasons to be believe that Richard Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, had leaked the trial documents to the French press.

"I recently won a major arbitration, defeating allegations of performance enhancing drugs, after a three week trial," the statement read. "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.

Click here to read the full statement by Lance Armstrong.

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