Levi Leipheimer refused to comment on a Dutch newspaper report alleging he has testified to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as part of their investigation into Lance Armstrong. He also said he had no knowledge of a six-month ban being imposed on him from this September as a result of his alleged cooperation with the USADA investigation.
Speaking to the media before the start of Tour de France stage five in Rouen, the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider came out of the team bus and stated: "I don't really have anything to say. All I can say is that I'm here at the Tour de France and I'm 100 percent focused on this race. So far I'm still in the hunt for the general classification and that's all I have to say."
Quizzed whether he had made any kind of deal with USADA in return for a six-month suspension, as has been alleged in De Telegraaf, Leipheimer said: "Again, I can't say anything. I'm not going to comment. Beyond that I'm here in the Tour with Quick Step and that's all I can say."
The American was then asked for his opinion on Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters' comment that the six-month suspension reportedly due to be imposed on individuals who have done a deal with USADA doesn't exist. "I don't know anything about that," he said.
Pressed on whether he has testified against Armstrong, Leipheimer replied: "Again, I don't have anything to say about that. I don't think it would help the situation to comment on speculation, so I'm not going to say anything. I'm not saying anything or denying anything. I'm just saying that I have no comment."
Leipheimer then refused to comment on whether he has testified to the investigations into Armstrong conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration and USADA. He also gave no comment when asked if a rider facing a six-month ban should be racing the Tour de France and on De Telegraaf's suggestion that he pulled out of the US Olympic team because of his involvement in the USADA inquiry.
Asked about his relationship with Armstrong, he commented: "I haven't spoken with him. I haven't heard from him."
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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