why is everyone picking on Lance … aka more dirty tales emerge


Retired professional cyclist Roberto Gaggioli has claimed that Lance Armstrong paid him $100,000 for agreeing to throw a race in Philadelphia in 1993 – the money, in dollar bills, contained in the packaging of a cake traditionally eaten by Italians at Christmas.

In this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Malcolm ELLIOTT, (L)  Lance ARMSTRONG (C) and Roberto GAGGIOLI (R) - 1 week after Armstrong won world title in Oslo.
In this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Malcolm ELLIOTT, (L) Lance ARMSTRONG (C) and Roberto GAGGIOLI (R) – 1 week after Armstrong
won world title in Oslo.

Gaggioli, now aged 51, told Milan-based newspaper La Corriere della Sera that he was resting in a hotel room in Bergamo, northern Italy, in October 1993 when there was a knock at the door.

“It was a young American fellow rider,” he said. “He gave me a panettone in a gift box wishing me ‘Merry Christmas’ and went on his way. In the box there was $100,000 in small denomination bills. That fellow rider was Lance Armstrong.”

Shortly beforehand, Armstrong, then aged 22, had been crowned world champion in Oslo, but the money Gaggioli claims he paid him related to a race that had taken place across the Atlantic four months earlier.

Pharmacy chain Thrift Drug had put up a prize of $1 million, insured at Lloyd’s of London, for any rider managing to win a trio of races in the United States that year under the name of the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Cycling.

All three races took place in the space of three weeks and Armstrong won the first two the the Thrift Drug Classic one-day race in Pittsburgh, and the K-Mart West Virginia Classic stage race.

He headed to the third and final event in Philadelphia, which also doubled as the US national championship, intent on winning that seven-figure purse.

But Gaggioli, an Italian who had emigrated to the United States, was the red-hot favourite for a race that he had previously won in 1988.

“So much time has passed, now I can talk about it,” Gaggioni told the Corriere della Sera. “Lance came up to me before the start. He told me that my team, Coors Light, had agreed and spoke to me about my compensation – $100,000. I understood that everything had already been decided.

“Two laps from the end, I got into the decisive break with Lance, Bobby Julich and some Italians from the Mercatone team. On a signal from Lance I turned and pretended not to see him attack. He won by a distance.

Asked why the other Italian riders hadn’t reacted, Gaggioli said: “They had very good reasons not to.”

The Corriere della Sera asked the four Mercatone Uno riders about their recollections of the race.

One, Simone Biasci, said that once the break had formed, Armstrong struck a deal with another Mercatone Uno rider, Angelo Canzonieri. “It went well,” he said. “We earned more in one day than our team mates did in three weeks at the Giro d’Italia.”

Another, Roberto Pelliconi, remembered: “Canzonieri and Lance agreed for ‘fifty’; Angelo was thinking in dollars, Lance in lire. At the Giro di Lombardia, he delivered 50 million lire to us, saving 40 per cent thanks to the favourable exchange rate.”

Canzonieri, however, has no recollection of the episode. He told the newspaper: “Leave Armstrong alone, he’s paid enough. I don’t remember anything.”

Gaggioli and the Mercatone Uno team weren’t the only ones allegedly paid off by Armstrong that year – New Zealand ex-pro Stephen Swart says his team was paid $50,000 to ease off in the stage race in West Virginia – but there would be a sting in the tail for the American.

The prize was only $1 million dollars if anyone winning it agreed to accept the money in 20 annual instalments of $50,000; choosing to take cash, it reduced to $600,000, which would also be subject to 20 per cent tax.

With the alleged backhanders to be paid and money also to be given to his Motorola team mates and staff, the Corriere della Sera says that Armstrong would have been left with just a “pugno di dollari” – the name in Italian of the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars.

Last year, Armstrong was banned from sport for life and stripped of all results dating back to his return from battling cancer in 1998 – so while that prize money may be long gone, he does get to keep his victories in that trio of races.

 

Armstrong – the video to watch (wait for it)


The Armstrong Lie Official HD Trailer

In 2008, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney began making “a feel-good movie” on what he believed could be one of the great sporting comebacks as Lance Armstrong sought an eighth Tour de France title; five years on, his finished work, The Armstrong Lie, instead charts the downfall of a legend.

The film, made by Sony and due for release next month, received its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy in September, and a trailer has been released.

Gibney and his crew received unprecedented access to Armstrong both ahead of and during his 2009 comeback, when he finished third in the Tour de France, and following his confession to Oprah Winfrey earlier this year.

Speaking about his film, which had the provisional title The Road Backwhen shooting began, Gibney says: “In 2008, I set out to make a film about a comeback. Lance Armstrong, a man who had cheated death, the 7-time-winner of the Tour de France and an inspirational figure who had raised over $300 million dollars to support those afflicted with cancer, had decided to return to cycling.

“Though he had been dogged by accusations of doping, he was going to return to the sport, at the ancient age of 38, to prove to everyone that he would race clean and still beat the field.

“I almost finished that film. Then, in 2011, I sat with my jaw open as I watched Tyler Hamilton on 60 Minutes reveal, in detail, how Lance had doped,” he went on.

“I was there in Austin, Texas, when Lance shot his interview with Oprah. I interviewed him briefly a few hours later and saw, for the first and only time, a slump in his shoulders that showed some kind of vulnerability.

“Then, a few months later, I interviewed him again. The subject of our talk, and my new movie, was not about the bike. It was about the lie. The Armstrong Lie.”

Gibney and his crew received unprecedented access to Armstrong both ahead of and during his 2009 comeback, when he finished third in the Tour de France, and following his confession to Oprah Winfrey earlier this year.

The movie also includes interviews with several people who formed part of Armstrong’s inner circle including the banned doctor, Michele Ferrari, and former US Postal, Astana and RadioShack team manager, Johan Bruyneel.

Others appearing include witnesses to the United States Anti Doping Agency’s investigation such as Frankie and Betsey Andreu and Jonathan Vaughters, and journalists including David Walsh of The Sunday Times.

The video below is of a press conference about the film at the Toronto International Film Festival last month in which Gibney, the film’s producer Frank Marshall, Betsy Andreu, journalist Bill Strickland and Jonathan Vaughters talk about the documentary and Armstrong’s career.

Skip forward to 12 minutes into the video for the press conference.

From road.cc – pharmstrong sponsors say goodbye


A number of companies that sponsored Lance Armstrong have moved to distance themselves from him today. The most prominent are sportswear giant Nike, which announced that it has ended its association with him due to “seemingly insurmountable evidence” that he doped during his career and “misled” the company “for more than a decade,” and Trek Bicycles, whose recent history is inextricably linked with Armstrong’s now-nullified Tour wins.

The news came shortly after Armstrong himself said he is stepping down as chairman of Livestrong, the charity also known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which he founded after in 1997 after surviving cancer.

Electronics retailer RadioShack has confirmed it has no current sponsorship deals with Armstrong, without confirming when the last one finished, and said it has ended his relationship with him, and Anheuser-Busch, which owns the Michelob Ultra brand of beer he endorses, has said it will not be renewing his current three-year deal when it expires at the end of the year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Easton Bell, owner of Giro whose helmets Armstrong uses and endorses, has also dropped him today, although like Nike, it will continue its asociation with Livestrong. Eyewear firm Oakley is said to be reviewing the situation.

According to research cited by the Wall Street Journal, Armstrong’s pulling power as a celebrity spokesman – and consumers’ trust in him – has plummeted in recent years. Quoting data from a specialist firm that tracks that data through consumer surveys, it says he was ranked 60th in June 2008 but had fallen to 1,410th by September 2012.

That was after USADA said it was banning him for life, but it’s the subsequent publication of its reasoned decision, and the detailed evidence it contains, that appears to have irreperably damaged the Armstrong brand.

In a statement published on its website, Nike said: “Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner.

It added: “Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”

Nike, which yesterday was awarded the high-profile contract to supply the International Olympic Committee until 2016, replacing its bitter rival Adidas, has come under pressure over the past week to affirmin its commitment to clean sport by distancing itself from Armstrong following publication by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of its Reasoned Decision against the man who won the Tour de France seven times.

A number of media outlets reported testimony yeterday from Greg Lemond’s wife Kathy given during a deposition in the SCA Promotions case in 2006 that Nike had paid former UCI President Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive test by Armstrong in 1999, a payment she said she had heard about from his former mechanic.

Nike strongly refuted the claim that any such payment had ever been made, saying in a statement yesterday: “Nike vehemently denies that it paid former UCI president Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive drug test. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.”

Yesterday also saw a protest outside Nike’s headquarters in Oregon led by former pro cyclist Paul Willerton, who raced alongside Armstrong for the US national team in the 1992 world championships, the year before Armstrong won the rainbow jersey in Oslo.

Willerton, who left the sport due to his disillusionment with doping, joined fellow protestors in urging Nike to reconsider its decision to stand by Armstrond despite the evidence published by USADA.

Another major sponsor of Armstrong, Trek, said in a release today, “Trek is disappointed by the findings and conclusions in the USADA report regarding Lance Armstrong. Given the determinations of the report, Trek today is terminating our longterm relationship with Lance Armstrong. Trek will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its efforts to combat cancer.” Armstrong is believed to be a Trek shareholder, and many believe that it was pressure from the Texan that led in part to Trek dropping the Lemond brand; indeed, Betsy Andreu’s affidavit recalls a conversation with Armstrong: “Lance said: ‘I’m going to make one call to John Burke and fucking shut him up.’ I asked who John Burke was and was told he owned Trek, the bike company that sponsored Lance as well as made Greg LeMond’s bikes.”

Oakley is another company associated with Armstrong that has faced calls to clarify its position.

Regarding Armstrong’s decision to step down from his role with his charity, according to a statement from him obtained by Associated Press, he made his decision so that the charity can focus on its work with cancer victims, rather than it being overshadowed by the continuing fallout from the United State Anti Doping Agency’s investigation which resulted in him being banned for sport for life.

“This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart,” said Armstrong in his statement, quoted in the New York Post. “Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”

According to spokeswoman Katherine McLane, vice-chairman Jeff Garvey, who was chairman of the charity when it was founded 15 years ago this week, will take over responsibility for the organisation’s strategic planning. Armstrong will remain on the Livestrong board.

LIvestrong’s 15th aniversary is due to be celebrated by a series of events in the coming days in Armstong’s home city of Austin, Texas, including a gala event on Friday evening that is scheduled to include appearances by long-time supporters Robin Williams and Ben Stiller.