Lemond accuses Armstrong

2004-07-15 14:05

Paris - Triple winner Greg LeMond has queried whether five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is as clean as he claims.

LeMond, the first American to win the Tour, says just because Armstrong has never tested positive for banned substances does not necessarily prove he is not using drugs.

"Everybody says that. But neither had David Millar tested positive and he now admits he took EPO," LeMond told Le Monde daily.

World time-trial champion Millar admitted to a French judge two weeks ago he had used the banned blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO).

As world time-trial champion and a three-time stage winner in the Tour de France, Millar is cycling's most high-profile casualty of a police drugs investigation since the Festina scandal of 1998.

The 27-year-old was the ninth Cofidis team member to be placed under investigation in a police inquiry, which began in January after the arrest of a young Polish professional, Marek Rutkiewicz, at Charles de Gaulle airport.

"The problem with Lance is that you're either a liar or you're out to destroy cycling," said LeMond who won in 1986, 1989 and 1990.

"Lance is ready to do anything to keep his secret but I don't know how long he can convince everybody of his innocence."

Last week Armstrong lost an appeal against a ruling denying him the right to insert a denial against accusations of doping published in a book released last month.

The book "LA Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong" by award-winning Sunday Times journalist David Walsh and Pierre Ballester, a cycling specialist formerly with French sports daily L'Equipe, alleges he used banned drugs.

The book focuses on statements attributed to Emma O'Reilly, a physiotherapist who worked with Armstrong from 1998-2000. O'Reilly claims Armstrong used the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO).

Armstrong has never tested positive for banned substances and has always strenuously denied taking any such products.