Federal prosecutors are obtaining more evidence in their doping investigation linked to seven-time Tour de France winner, American Lance Armstrong. This week, they have received an offer from the Tour de France anti-doping agency to co-operate and telephone recordings from American Greg LeMond.

According to the LA Times, prosecutors received a telephone conversation secretly recorded by former Tour de France winner LeMond six years ago, in July 2004. During the conversation, LeMond talks with Armstrong’s liaison to eyewear company Oakley, Stephanie McIlvain, who said she was present in 1996 when Armstrong told his cancer doctors he doped.

“I’m not asking you to do anything you would never want to do,” said LeMond. “But, if I did get down where it was … a lawsuit … would you be willing to testify?”

“If I was subpoenaed, I would,” said McIlvain. “I’m not going to lie. … I was in that room. I heard it. … My whole concern is my loyalties to Oakley. … They say I was never in there. And I know I was in there. You know, I totally know I was in there.”

Armstrong’s former team-mate, Frankie Andreu and his wife Betsy were also there at the hospital. They testified in a 2005 civil case that Armstrong told doctors that he used EPO, steroids, human growth hormone, cortisone and testosterone. In the same case, however, McIlvain denied she ever heard Armstrong make the admission.

LeMond gave the contradictory telephone recording with McIlvain and other evidence to federal prosecutors of the USA’s Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA). They are investigating Floyd Landis’ allegations that Armstrong doped during his seven Tour de France victories.

Landis sent an e-mail to USA’s cycling federation detailing the team’s doping practices, which included blood transfusions and testosterone patches, on April 30. The e-mail was subsequently leaked to the media on May 19.

Jeff Novitzky, an agent for the FDA, was reportedly already working on a case involving drugs found in the apartment of cyclist Kayle Leogrande and found Landis’ allegations interesting. Armstrong rode for a team sponsored by the USA’s postal service from 1998 to 2004 and, if Landis’ allegations were true, he essentially used taxpayers’ money to fund his doping.

Novitzky and his team have subpoenaed Stephanie McIlvain, according to LA Times’ sources. They have also issued subpoenas to Armstrong’s former team-mate Tyler Hamilton and three-time Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond. They have also requested documents from Armstrong’s long-time sponsors, Nike and Trek.

More documents and evidence may arrive from France. Yesterday, the head of the French anti-doping agency (AFLD), Pierre Bordry said he will hand over Armstrong’s B samples from the 1999 Tour de France if asked to do so by the FDA.

“They can ask us anything, we will do it,” Bordry said in a press conference, according to the Associated Press. “We can either send them the samples or do the testing ourselves.”

A test for blood booster EPO only became available in 2000, but the AFLD has preserved backup urine samples from previous years. In 2005, French newspaper L’Equipe reported that Armstrong’s backup B samples contained EPO.

Armstrong denies Landis’ allegations and using performance-enhancing drugs during his career. He completed his comeback to cycling this July at the Tour de France.

Landis won the 2006 Tour de France racking with team Phonak, but days later, the title was taken from him when a test revealed he used testosterone. He initially fought the charges, but later admitted to doping.

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  • Tim

    Ivar, it becomes apparent that this is all a publicity smear campaign… Lemond must be the root… as Landis, though resentful, could not be smart enough to orchestrate this…

  • Ivar

    On top of that it turns out there is no more urine available from the B sample. Apparently it has degraded. So much for that initiative from the French cycling mob….

  • Tim

    The so-called positive 1999 test isn’t even valid science by any stretch of the imagination. Consider the age of the sample… 6-years old, the absolute lack of anonymity in 2005 – single-double blind drug studies are the standard, and how the samples were stored.

    So, EPO isn’t a drug, it’s a protein, and a rather small, highly-soluble one. These proteins tend to degrade pretty well over time… My feeling is that they didn’t store the urine as you would these days: protease inhibitors, neutral pH, and purification of EPO from a portion of the initial collection… I’d love to see the actual, and complete science behind these results… All the tests, how they were carried out, and the chain of knowledge behind the retest.

    Oh, Greg 86 89 90, that UCI link doesn’t say anything other than the UCI papers are from the UCI….

  • Brian

    Barry R and jonathan lesiuk, you are hilarious!
    You and your master (Lance) are the only bitter people around.

  • Hovis

    I wonder what evidence it wold take to convince jonathan lesiuk, Barry R and the other Armstrong apologists to believe that their hero is not what he seems. I suspect that a video of him injecting EPO would still be branded a fraud by these people. The jury is still out and the likelyhood is that he probably did dope, but I find it astounding that there are some people who won’t even consider this was a possibility.

  • jonathan lesiuk

    had armstrong doped either, a~)prior to getting cancer he never would have survived the illness as documentary evidence showed that his was one of the worst cases doctors had ever seen and only a clean living supreme athlete could have survived it. or b) as the most tested athlete on the pro cycling circuit real measureable evidence would have come to the surface by now as the french hated the fact that the guy who has won the most tours is an arrogant american. It sounds to me that it is a case of two bitter american tour winners(one a proven cheat,the other who felt that he was robbed of more tour wins), trying to blacken the reputation of a man whom history will show that they will always live in the shadow of.

  • the friend2

    In addtion to the first poster:

    As stated in the LA Times article in Federal cases it’s sufficient for one party to have consented to the recording.

  • the friend

    To the first post:

    The recording comes under Minnesota law, which is where the call was made from:

    Quote:
    Minn. Stat. § 626A.02: It is legal for a person to record a wire, oral or electronic communication if that person is a party to the communication, or if one of the parties has consented to the recording — so long as no criminal or tortious intent accompanies the recording.

    It should also be noted that the recording was aired at the SCA case – so it is already accepted by a different state.

    More importantly the recording is with the Fed’s who have their own legal criteria.

    Again – this will only become an issue if Stephanie says she did not hear anything in the Hospital room in front of a GJ, which seems a rather big risk for her to take.

  • Matthew

    If anyone wants to listen the conversation being used as evidence is freely available on the internet and has been for years.

    http://j.b5z.net/i/u/2132106/m/gregstef.mp3

    It’s very convincing. And interesting that one poster is so quick to label Lemond as bitter. You really think this is about bitterness or some petty squabble? I suggest you do a bit more background reading before questioning the motivations of others.

  • jon

    Two things…

    1. Getting very bored of the Armstrong smoke screen and his supporters ignoring a mountain of evidence to point out some petty technicality. It looks like he doped a lot and lied about it, then after having cancer there’s supposedly no evidence (apart from all the evidence he has gone to great lengths to discredit)… call me cynical but is it possible that he’s gone to a lot of effort to hide or suppress any evidence? Or does he just go around donating vast sums of money and losing track of the amounts out of the goodness of his heart?

    2. Doping stitches up all the honest athletes out there and makes a mockery of race results. Good for Lemond for trying to do something about it even if he risks prosecution for recording a conversation. Full Stop.

  • martin

    I am sure of two things

    1. Armstrong doped
    2. He will get off scott-free

    I bet my house on it. This is America, the guy with the best legal team wins. Remember OJ Simpson?

  • Greg 86 89 90

    In 1999 Armstrong was doped, the documentation provided by the French newspaper L’Equipe has been validated by the UCI. !!! Yes by the UCI !!!
    Armstrong has never been suspended because his doping was discovered too late in 2005, the limitation period was 3 years old, but it was doped with EPO, it is the truth.

    I give you the link.

    http://www.uci.ch/Modules/ENews/ENewsDetails.asp?source=SiteSearch&id=NDU4Mg&MenuId=15217&CharValList=628%253B611%253B&CharTextList=&CharFromList=&CharToList=&txtSiteSearch=&SelChar214=628&SelChar208=611&LangId=1

    All the cheaters have been suspended, Vinokourov, Basso, Valverde, except Armstrong. In my opinion, the most dishonest that cycling has ever known.

    Here’s a link of the website L’Equipe which describes the investigation that was published in the newspaper L’Equipe of Thursday, August 23, 2005.

    http://www.lequipe.fr/Cyclisme/DOPAGE_ARMSTRONG_2.html

  • Barry R

    Two things…

    Armstrong’s alleged drug use prior to his cancer is not the focus of this case. Following cancer, there is no information suggest he used. Sure he might have used prior to his 7 wins, but following his body transformation (muscle loss), he really did become a new athlete.

    Second, I seriously hope charges are leveled against Greg “Bitter” Lemond for recording (without consent) the telephone conversations of all those involved. It is illegal to record a conversation of another person with their consent or Attorney General/Court approval. Period.