American Lance Armstrong continues to race at the Tour Down Under more to receive his estimated €2m appearance fee than to face questions over new doping allegations.

He was grumpy and rude at the start of stage two from Tailem Bend to the small town of Mannum. He asked one journalist if he was stupid when asked a relevant question about Sports Illustrated‘s article. Armstrong appeared more as a guilty suspect than a 39-year-old, seven-time Tour de France winner.

“I don’t have anything to say,” said Armstrong.

Sports Illustrated will have something to say. It will publish an article on January 24 with new allegations that Armstrong doped during his career. Today, it released an excerpt that said:

- Police found performance enhancing drugs in their raid of Yaroslav Popovych’s Italian home. He is Armstrong’s current RadioShack team-mate and helped him win 2005 Tour de France.

- Popovych’s computer files showed Armstrong worked with Michele Ferrari as late as 2009.

- Customs agents caught Armstrong at the St Moritz airport in 2003 with syringes and drugs.

- In the late 1990s, Armstrong used HemAssist, a drug similar to EPO that boosts the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity.

- Armstrong had elevated testosterone levels between 1993 and 1996.

“You got a new question?” said Armstrong, interrupting when asked about the allegations.

Armstrong gladly answered at length questions about the day’s stage crossing Murray River and Australia’s recent floods. When asked about something more relevant to cycling – the drugs found at Popovych’s home – he was less open.

“Dude, are you that stupid? Which part of I am not commenting is not clear to you?” said Lance. He then added, “I am sorry, you are not stupid, but you can’t hear. Do you have any more questions?”

The journalist is neither stupid nor deaf. He was asking questions about a timely and relevant topic.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also asking questions. Its prosecutor, Jeff Novitzky is investing allegations made by Armstrong’s former team-mate Floyd Landis. Landis alleged in April last year that Armstrong doped during his Tour de France victories.

The two raced together from 2002 to 2004 with team US Postal.

Landis won the Tour de France in 2006, but days later, he was found guilty for doping. He returned to race, but yesterday, he announced that he will retire from professional cycling. He said that finding a new team is too difficult due the allegations he made.

The FDA has opened a grand jury investigation. Novitzky travelled to meet with counterparts in France, Spain and Italy, countries where Armstrong lived or trained, in November. His work with Italian prosecutors led to the raid of Popovych’s home on November 11.

In the US, Novitzky has issued subpoenas several people close to Armstrong to testify in front of a grand jury in Los Angeles. Popovych and Armstrong’s former team-mates Kevin Livingston and Tyler Hamilton have reportedly been called to testify. His long-time sponsors – Nike, Oakley and Trek – have also provided information.

The allegations are much more serious for Armstrong than Australia’s floods or its longest river, the Murray River.

“I don’t have anything to worry about on any level,” said Armstrong. “It has nothing to do with what’s going on overseas.”

Related links

Armstrong faces questions on doping investigation and 2009 payments

Armstrong unconcerned about doping investigation

Armstrong case heads into New Year: Wires and European trips

Armstrong investigation arrives in Europe

Armstrong’s team mate Popovych testifies he did not witness doping

Armstrong’s team-mate Popovych summonsed in doping investigation

Landis unlikely to stand trial for hacking says manager

Landis admits he doped and implicates others

  • round legs square wheels

    Surely the questions G B should of asked were about the race itself, Robbie Mcewen. flooding, L A retirement from europe pro racing etc. That is important to me not re hashed stuff, about as interesting and relevant as Tomy Blairs lies before invading Iraq. Old News. Move on. Bigger fish and for info I am a Big L A fan and eagerly await the FDA findings till then will enjoy TDU for what it is.

  • Tim E

    Comon, the SI article is such junk, guys and gals…

    The only revelation it has is that it says that LAs testosterone levels/ratios were fluctuating in the years prior to his diagnosis with testicular cancer. When was his last abnormal test result (according to that article)? 1996… the same year he was diagnosed with testicular cancer! Testosterone is made by the testicles, people.

    It’s a real shame to the field of journalism that the writers took advantage of the fact that most people have no idea where male testosterone is made. They added either old, or practically totally biased statements from those who dislike him (LA) already, and made an article (to satisfy readership numbers) which you all read! They duped everyone!

  • terry sutton

    Here we go again anyone can make allegations without proof and get away it to make a name for them selves put up or shut up

  • Marmaduke Q aka Jon

    This is odd – Mike, Dave D & Tim E all appear to use a 4 dot form of ellipsis with no space between it and the following word. Other Lance apologists’ posts have a curiously similar tone as well.

    Are they short of stock down at the troll farm? Perhaps CW should publish IP addresses with comments or limit it to 1 post per IP + a valid email address.

    This is approaching the number of posts on the recent UCI sticker article – not bad for 4-5 people. You guys have really mobilised!

  • Richard Loughlin

    In reply to Paul James: You’re right it’s much worse than ‘muck raking’, I’m not sure of the precise legal definition, but to the lay man like me. it seems like constant slander and libel. It is 11.5 years since these allegations were first raised during the 1999 tour and still there is not the evidence to prosecute.

  • kieran

    What goes around, comes around.

  • Tim E

    Does SI have a history of false/sensationalist reporting? Like how B.J. Raji was smoking pot and how Mike Price essentially raped some lady? SI readership must be down….

  • dave d

    All of us know what a mental game bike racing can be, your mental state is critical to a good performance. Being one with the bike if you will…then why would this “jerk” reporter throw out this stupid Landis related drug stuff right at the race begining…..no mater what the real answer is, it can ruin a guys mental outlook on an event…..the reporters are jerks and only looking for there own headlines….
    If Lance can maintain a good result with this happening he is better than ever in my book….Landis needs to be locked up somewhere, he is a nut case.

  • PeterLB

    Christ, they’ve let you all out of the asylum today!

    Lance is fair game, as is any question a journalist wants to ask. The dude in question may have just turned up late and needing a quote asked a perfectly acceptable question. In fact, it’s the only question worth asking! Any journalist not asking Lance about the investigation and the SI article is no journalist.

    Cycling journalism is full of gutless, sychophantic fan boys who wouldn’t ask a tough question if they had their mummy’s there to hold their hands when they poo their pants.

    Good on the ‘dude’, keep up the good work!

  • Paul James

    The investigation into potentially the biggest sporting fraud case of all time is ‘muck raking’ according to some of the comments on here. Unbelievable. In that case, every major investigation into anything – murder, rape, whatever – could be dismissed as ‘muck raking’.

    Whether Armstrong is found guilty or not, it is the duty of the press to ask awkward questions and get some answers.

    Personally, I think Brown has been generous here.

  • mike

    Anyone asked the same question over and over and over again would eventually lose their patience. A totally biased article….waste of time to read.

  • Brian

    Wow… the fanboys are still alive! Hilarious.
    Keep up the good work Gregor Brown. Although I could not care less about Pharmstrong, it is important that he receives at last the treatment that dopers/cheaters deserve.

  • Josh Gipper

    Agree with DeeDee.
    Gregor, I’m a realist about the Lance situation. There is fantastic racing going on at the TDU, how moody someone is we could care less about.

  • Jon

    How dare they ask him questions? The man’s got a race to ride and what he injects into his bloodstream at the expense of other riders’ results and careers is nobody else’s business.

    He said NO COMMENT – and what Lance says goes. You can’t ask him questions after he says that. It’s sacrosanct, like saying no returns when you do a pinch and a punch for the first of the month.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the other numpties who have commented – no proof blah blah you’re stupid etc.

  • Alex

    +1 Davo… Proof. What I see here is cycling trying to eat itself, over and over, so it goes. How could any cyclist ever attempt to prove his innocence in the face of such mud raking. Guilty until proven innocent? And then only until someone makes the same baseless allegations again. And no, I don’t worship at the alter of Lance. Beyond all reasonable doubt, if there is reasonable doubt, then it’s not proof is it. These endless stories about suspected doping are boring. No wonder no one takes cycling seriously in the Uk.

  • Julian

    Lots of allegations and associations but I don’t recall any positive tests from Mr Armstrong. Proof of wrong-doing is necessary to convict. Let’s not convict or insinuate without proof; that is all too easy.

  • DeeDee

    Gregor,
    You wasted your time writing this one. With all that is going on at the TDU and w/cycling, this poor rehash of old, and unproven, info is worthless to your reader & to cycling fans. While I am not an over the top Armstrong fan, I do expect cycling journalists to be balanced and fair when reporting on him. This article was neither.

  • valerie

    Let the dude ride. He is there to ride, not answer stupid question about allegations regarding doping. Just let him ride.

  • Focus

    I agree with David. There is heavy bias in this report to try to tarnish Armstrong, before anything has been proved. Surely he is entitled to not wan to answer questions that dont currently have any factual evidence behind them? Or does the author of this piece believe in ‘guilty until proven innocent’.
    The FDA investigation may well prove that he doped. It may well prove that he didnt. But this article just proves that the author has already made up his mind. Bad journalism.
    Let the FDA carry out their investigation, THEN comment as you see fit, based on the facts.

    Finally, If the claim is true that “Police found performance enhancing drugs in their raid of Yaroslav Popovych’s Italian home” then can someone explain why that rider has not been subject to some sort of disciplinary proceedings yet????

  • Turtle

    I agree with David and Davo (who, for all I know, might be the same person). I used to edit my high school newspaper, and the content that arrived on my desk was usually about par with this article; that is to say, ill-conceived, poorly executed and lacking any real substance. Maybe you’re just a big Ullrich fan and feel personally cheated by Lance’s 7 wins, or maybe you’re just stupid enough to think doping in cycling is still cheating. Grow up. How many of the latest contenders have been probed in a doping case? Starting with Landis, there’s also Basso, Ullrich, Contador, Di Luca, Valverde, Rasmussen, and now Armstrong (not to mention about 50 more I don’t feel like rattling off). But all that aside, you can’t avoid that your article was about as beefy as a Holocaust survivor (or “as beefy as Michael Rasmussen” might work better in this instance). All you did was take one moment of aggressive indulgence on Lance’s part and try to paint the picture of a guilty man in denial. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s guilty. He’s so full of dope that he could be one of the seven dwarves. But who gives a f***? They all are. The sooner the cycling community realizes this, the better off we’ll be. That doesn’t excuse you from your journalistic duties, however.

  • Richard Loughlin

    Is it now impossible for the press to comment on any Lance Armstrong story without mentioning the drug allegations? If they have clear evidence prosecute, if not shut up. What do you expect Armstrong to say? “It’s a fair cop guv, you got me bang to rights”.

    If I allege the Editor of a cycling mag is a pedophile and mention it every time I talk about him/her, guess whats going to happen? But that how the press of every flavour works, isn’t it

  • Kat

    David, the answer would be to sensationalize. Having also listened to the interaction in question me thinks this report is a load of bullocks. Gregor Brown’s spin has become all too typical of the Cycling Weekly approach. Thumbs down mates.

  • John

    This reporter obviously has his own axe to grind. The SI story has nothing new wxcept inuendo and more ravings from Landis.

    Booring, trivial, weak journalism.

  • DAVO

    Brown get of Armstrongs back. What would expect him to say? The same stupid questions, no proof, if you where a good journalist you would go find some proof. But I expect it is a lot easier just to bad mouth someone than do any real work SAD

  • David

    Having seen the press conference, the bias in your report is comical. Do you actually want to report on the conference, or just sensationalise? Question – How many times did LA actually reply that he was going to make no comment on the SI story before he finally lost his patience. Are you stupid/deaf too? fyi – not a LA fan, just like to see a fair reflection of the real world in the press!

  • Hadyn Bosher @ 78 in Thailand

    If found guilty would he have to pay back any appearence money he has received, as it would have been aquired under false pretences.i.e 2 million etc,?