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July 15, 2004

LeMond, French TV after Armstrong

Yahoo! Sport | LeMond accuses Armstrong

In an article in today's editions of Le Monde, Greg LeMond expressed doubts about Lance Armstrong's continuing claims that he is competing without the help of drugs.

"I don't know how long he can convince everybody of his innocence," the three-time Tour winner from Wayzata, Minnesota told the French newspaper.

Asked about Armstrong's almost universally clean drug tests, and his protestations that he's the most tested athlete on earth, LeMond said:

"Everybody says that. But neither had David Millar tested positive and he now admits he took EPO ... Lance is ready to do anything to keep his secret but I don't know how long he can convince everybody of his innocence."

The two feuded in 2001, when LeMond reportedly tried to steer Armstrong clear of Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor now accused of helping cyclists boost their performance through EPO and other illegal aids.

Update: Armstrong has responded:

Reuters.com | Armstrong Disappointed by LeMond Accusations

For his part, Armstrong said Thursday that LeMond was his idol growing up "because he was a great champion and did great things on the bike." He particularly noted LeMond's "remarkable return to form and win at the '89 Tour."

Said Armstrong:

"I'm disappointed and dismayed that for the past four years Greg has continued to question my performances and character."

The Reuters story also has another LeMond quote from the original Le Monde story:

"Drugs are now so powerful that they can change a man physiologically. One could even convert a mule into a stallion."

Also:

VeloNews | Armstrong says French TV crew 'looking for dirt'

Lance Armstrong decried what he called the 'scandalous' behavior of a crew from France 3 that attempted to get access to US Postal's hotel rooms as soon as the team left this morning.

"They show up and they ask sporting questions to our face, but as soon as they leave they're digging in the rooms and looking for dirt," he said. "If you left a B vitamin sitting there, that would get on TV and that would be a scandal. That's what we have to live with every day.

"This particular guy from France 3 has been following us for months and it's scandalous. The scary thing is, if they don't find anything and get frustrated after a couple of months ... well, who's to say they won't put something there and say, ‘Look what we've found.' "

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2004 in Doping, Lance Armstrong 2004, Top Stories | Permalink

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Comments

Greg LeMond,
You looked so much better in yellow..."green" is not all becoming on you. It is such a shame to read your comments, the envy is evident whenever you open your mouth. It is very sad for you that you could not be content to be remembered as the first American champion of the TDF. Instead you have chosen to get down in the gutter with the slimeball European press in a pathetic attempt to garner some publicity for yourself. Jealousy is truly ugly, why can't you appreciate Lance's accomplishments? We all know it is because you feel you should have been the first 6 time winner? Excuse me was it Lance who shot you in the back???,No rather you are attempting to stab him in the back! What a pity, your legacy could have been wonderful but now you will forever be remembered as an embittered, pathetic former champion. Lance will make history before the weekend is over and you will be a "has been."

Posted by: Sheila at Jul 15, 2004 8:19:28 PM

what sheila said!!!

Posted by: mike at Jul 15, 2004 9:33:59 PM

Yes I agree that Greg can not handle that Lance will soon get TDF #6. But I believe it's deeper than this. Greg can not accept that Lance is getting away with doping to get #6 or even more. It's almost too plain to see that Greg won his TDFs because of doping. Greg possibly stopped taking them because of fear that he might get caught. As a result, he did not win any more TDF. This is where the frustration comes in. Greg wishes he had continued taking drugs to get more TDFs. And worse, he should have because he could not believe that to this date those drugs are still undetectable. Just like David Millar's case. David was undetected for taking EPOs for years until of course admitting it himself. This is what Lance has to do. With the potential to make more millions & become the most celebrated legend in biking, good luck Greg, myself, & millions of other people.
As for Lance, almost all his fans don't know what they ought to know. That when he first tried out TDF, he did not finish the tour. I don't remember how far he went. The bottom line is that he could not keep up. His comment "these guys must be supermans to finish this race". When he came back from cancer, boom, out of nowhere. And all of a sudden the statement he made years ago is nowhere to be found. The only way to catch Lance or any other liars is to get their blood tested twice each month for a year. Unfortunately, the system does not allow that to happen. The system sucks. What happened to this great country?

Posted by: Christoff at Jul 15, 2004 11:06:54 PM

what a poor pathetic bastard....what he is really thinking he is french now?....get some fucking manners

Posted by: ajxes at Jul 15, 2004 11:08:34 PM

Le Mond has been a pain in the butt and a thorn in the side of Armstrong ever since he won his 1st TDF.

Le Mond can't be gracious and support another American TDF winner. Sour grapes, and Lance has been tested for doping more that Le Mond ever had been and has always come out clean each time !!!

Le Mond should stick to his own bike business and stay out of the commentary work. Funny we do not see him as an analyst or part of the TDF crowd today?

Posted by: Mark at Jul 15, 2004 11:16:41 PM

Greg LeMond,

I doubt you wouldn't remember, but I handed you flowers when, as a teenager (probably the late 70s) you won a race in Bisbee, AZ. Even back then bike racers were jealous of each other and weren't too shy about expressing it. But we were talking local races, not international, and also not in the world wide press.

To publicly disrespect a fellow cycler because of unproven suspicions should be embarrassing for you, to say the least. It is also very unsportsmanlike and doesn't help any situation at hand. You really owe Lance and the public an apology. Shame on you!

Posted by: Sue at Jul 16, 2004 2:39:59 AM

Lance has been a " hero " of mine for quite some time. I read his first book and was practically in awe of his victory over cancer...Next to that, winning the TDF although hurculean, takes a distant second.

That said the LeMond issue is quite puzzling. Why would a countryman and fellow TDF winner be so persistent in criticizing a fellow American in of all places, THE FRENCH PRESS?! I haven't spoken to a Frenchman in years who doesn't loathe America and all we stand for ( they forgot hundreds of thousands of American boys' blood spilled on their soil liberating their sorry asses from the Nazis ). So what possessed Greg to create more ire?!!!

Personally, I feel someone is innocent until proven guilty. It is true that drug use and doping are more prevalent in professional cycling than most of us ever realized. Lance's ex-wife ( also easily labeled as bitter ) was quoted as saying Lance had told her by phone last year,
" Hey everybody uses EPO..." I think officials need to test more regularly and find new ways to detect blood doping and drug use.

If Lance were to be exposed as cheating, it would be a disgrace to not only him, but our whole nation and cycling program. Shame on the French for witchhunting all these years if they're wrong, SHAME ON LANCE if he's indeed a very convincing liar. Notice photos of Lance in 1997 and how large he is. Contrast that with the lean, mean Lance of 2004. Only Lance and a few privelaged people know if this is due to a new training psyche, physiological changes after tons of chemo and grueling therapies or drugs and red blood cell pumping.

For now, Lance is still my CYCLING hero.Anyone who wins 6 Tours and never is found to be cheating is no doubt going to be an icon.

That said, you read his story, it does blow one away how easily he dumped his girlfriend of six years who stood by his side during the cancer and recovery....Then, how " in love " Lance was with his the new squeeze he married and had three children with. So now, Lance is starry-eyed, on a pedestal and dating Cheryl Crow, jet-setting in a Learjet and basically being Mr.Celebrity on a cloud. Doesn't it shock anybody how easily Lance can dump women and move on without seemingly taking a breath?

Perhaps Lance's judgements on relationships and fatherhood leave alot to be desired, but as an athlete he's a " god "....Perhaps not. My only hope is that the TRUTH BE REVEALED and we can once and for all feel confident that America is the home of the greatest cyclist of all time.

Posted by: James at Jul 16, 2004 2:45:12 AM

A nice dose of nationalism from James there.

"I haven't spoken to a Frenchman in years who doesn't loathe America and all we stand for"

Yea alright, whatever.

Golly how could a man from dare criticise a fellow countryman!!

I don't know about you bud, but of of the greatest things about sport and cycling in particular is how everybody can enjoy and feel the suffering the activity no matter what their ability or where they come from or whatever race they may be.

If you ever go to a European pro race you'll see Brits, Dutch, Belgians, Germans, French, Danes, Swiss, Italians and Spanish all getting on famously, enjoying each others company and rooting for *all* the cyclists united in a passion for cycling, compare and contrast with the ugly tribalism of football.

"we can once and for all feel confident that America is the home of the greatest cyclist of all time."

See this http://www.cyclingforums.com/t115432.html for Eddy Merckx's palmeres and some much needed perspective.

Posted by: Mark Holland at Jul 16, 2004 9:31:51 AM

Here's what Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman had to say about Lemond in today's paper: http://www.statesman.com/sports/content/sports/bohls/07/16bohls.html.

Particulary interesting is:
"That's a mealy mouthful, especially coming a fellow American and the first to win on this side of the Atlantic. And the sniping smacks of little more than bitter jealousy of a man who is flirting with remaking history if he wins his sixth consecutive Tour this month. You got proof, LeMond? Present it. Otherwise, go cycle up a mountain."

Posted by: philbert at Jul 16, 2004 9:33:46 AM

I should have said that Greg Lemond, a hero of mine from yesteryear, as Pilbert's quote says, ought to come up with proof rather than sniping away with scurrilous accusations which don't do the sport any favours and make him sound bitter.

Posted by: Mark Holland at Jul 16, 2004 9:46:34 AM

I am appalled at Greg remarks..he was my idol in the 80's, I rode/raced in europe for 10 years & saw so many changes Greg brought to our sport, his remarks hurt the morale and image of cycling he needs proof & should be supportive of our US rider Lance....

Posted by: Robert Bailey at Jul 16, 2004 10:39:14 AM

I am appalled at Greg remarks..he was my idol in the 80's, I rode/raced in europe for 10 years & saw so many changes Greg brought to our sport, his remarks hurt the morale and image of cycling he needs proof & should be supportive of our US rider Lance....

Posted by: Robert Bailey at Jul 16, 2004 10:39:21 AM

I am appalled at Greg remarks..he was my idol in the 80's, I rode/raced in europe for 10 years & saw so many changes Greg brought to our sport, his remarks hurt the morale and image of cycling he needs proof & should be supportive of our US rider Lance....

Posted by: Robert Bailey at Jul 16, 2004 10:39:39 AM

I can remember doing triathlon's in the 80's and reading about this kid from Texas that was kicking butt! I think Greg and others need to look back at Lance's history as an athlete before claiming Lance came out of nowhere to win the TDF, so he must be doing drugs.
Lance won the Iron Kids Triathlon at 13 and became a professional triathlete when he was just 16 years old
Lance qualified for the 1989 junior world championships in Moscow.
His 10 titles in 1993 included winning the US PRO Championship, taking his first stage victory in the prestigious Tour de France, and becoming the youngest road racing World Champion ever.
Lance roared into 1996 as the number one ranked cyclist in the world.

Posted by: Mike at Jul 16, 2004 10:46:31 AM

I started bike racing because of Greg. I had the utmost respect for the first American TDF winner. All I can say now is that he is one sad human being. May he have flats on all his rides.

Posted by: Mark at Jul 16, 2004 11:42:49 AM

I started bike racing because of Greg. I had the utmost respect for the first American TDF winner. All I can say now is that he is one sad human being. May he have flats on all his rides.

Posted by: Mark at Jul 16, 2004 11:42:50 AM

Gref Lemond is quite a guy isn't he? The farce is that the things he did to benefit cycling were just by product of the things he did to benefit Greg--not an intentional effort to better any one else. Google search for a Lemond Foundation and see what happens. Does he lend his waning fame to accomplish anything for anyone else? Lance does. Tyler does. I think Hinault had the right idea. As far as being an ambassador for the sport goes, the French media is a good place for him. Just stay out of Postals' rooms!

Posted by: Kirby at Jul 16, 2004 12:24:25 PM

I felt uncomfortable to read the article and the comments that followed here this morning, egarding the issue of drug use. I was sadden to see one American Cyclist publicly disparage another. It seems that if Greg Lemond's true interest were the sport of cycling or Lance's performances than his comments would be better in a private forum or made personally to Lance. To make those comments without proof for an interview that will be read internationally is just plain thoughtless. It demonstrates a lack of maturity.
I remember the year when Greg had to battle his own teammate, Hinualt for the win at the tour and how all my buddies (we all rode bikes)were upset that one tour winner & champion (Hinualt) would play such games with his own teammate. Then when Greg was shot, just outside of Lincoln, California (I live in Sacramento, just a short ride from Lincoln), how the entire public "pulled" for him to make a recovery and then after that to make "comeback" which he did like a true champion. Now to read these statements attributed to him that really are with any type of proof regarding Lance's performance at the tour are just riduclous.
Lance Armstrong is not only a great cyclist, he is great team leader, and obviously a great straitgest. He knows cycling and knows what it takes to win. He has been tested for drugs and passed each test. The only proof that is relevant regarding Lance and drug use is that he has never tested positive for a banned substance. That is all the proof there is. It is a non-issue! If someone wants to make it an issue without the proper proof than that someone really needs to figure some things out and get a life.
If it were possible for one cyclists to make a comeback after being shot why would it not be possible for another cyclist to achieve such wonderful results after a fighting cancer and having to face the real possibility of dying. I suggest that Mr. Lemond think more before he speaks and that the rest of us, remember what a great tour Champion he was. I also suggest that we support Lance in his fight for this tour win and enjoy watching such great performances from all the cyclists at the tour.

Posted by: Brian at Jul 16, 2004 1:36:54 PM

As a fellow cancer survivor, I know how that battle changes you forever. Cancer enables one to do more than they thought possible, to try new things and to approach life with a completly different, can-do attitude. There's something to be said abour looking your own mortallity in the face, beating it and realizing that it's the biggest "win" of them all. Every achievement after that is just icing on the cake...or apples on the table. How do you like those f#%$*&g apples Greg?

Posted by: Deb at Jul 16, 2004 2:45:10 PM

I live in the Ft Worth -Dallas area- Lance has been beating everyone in races since his early teens. Everyone in this area is aware of this. Riders would come to Richardson Bike Mart when he was in his teens to ride against him & try to beat him in any kind of ride -(training or race). He has been competing all his life !! As for Greg Lemond- I'm somewhat older than him & enjoyed watching him race, but I HAVE NOW LOSED RESPECT FOR HIM !! THE WAMBULANCE AWAITS!! GETOVER IT!

Posted by: Larry Mautone at Jul 16, 2004 2:54:33 PM