Lance Armstrong told reporters today that he would co-operate with the federal investigators who have begun to investigate the possibility of bringing fraud and doping charges against cyclists and team managers.

Speaking to reporters, he contradicted the statement he gave under oath when he said he did not own a stake in Tailwind Sports, the company that owned and operated the US Postal Service team. In 2005, he said he owned a small stake in the company, now he says he held no stake.

Yesterday, the New York Daily News reported that Trek, the bicycle company that supplied bikes to Armstrong’s US Postal Service team, which later became Discovery Channel, had been issued with a grand jury subpoena to release documents relating to Trek’s sponsorship.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal ran a story in which Floyd Landis alleged that Tailwind Sports acquired Trek bikes and sold them on to help finance a doping programme. A Trek spokesman said it had no knowledge of such activity and would not condone it.

Today Armstrong tried to distance himself from Tailwind Sports saying that at no time did he own a stake in the company.

He said: “I was a rider on the team. I was contracted with Tailwind Sports, I never had any dealings with the Postal Service – zero. I didn’t own the company [Tailwind Sports]. I didn’t have an equity stake. I didn’t have a profit stake. I didn’t have a seat on the board. I can’t be any clearer than that.”

But this statement by Armstrong contradicts what he said under oath when deposed to give evidence in the arbitration case brought by Tailwind Sports against SCA Promotions, a sports marketing company, in 2005.

The text of the deposition says: Question: Can you tell us what your relationship, first, your business relationship, with Tailwind Sports is?

Armstrong: I’m an athlete on the team.

Question: Do you have any ownership interest in Tailwind Sports?

Armstrong: A small one.

Question: When you say a small one, can you give me an approximate percentage as to what that would be, if you know?

Armstrong: Perhaps 10 per cent.

Question: Do you know when you acquired that ownership interest?

Armstrong: No. I don’t remember.

Question: Would it have been in 2005, or before that?

Armstrong: I don’t remember.

Question: Who would know the answer to the question as to when you acquired an ownership interest in Tailwind?

Armstrong: Bill Stapleton.

Question: Is there documentation? Like, do you have papers or an ownership certificate of some sort that reflects your ownership interest in Tailwind?

Armstrong: I’m sure there is.

As Cycle Sport magazine’s summer 2010 issue (and the Cycling Weekly issue dated July 2) reported, Tailwind took out an insurance policy in 2001 to cover the bonuses due to Armstrong in the event that he won the 2002, 2003 and 2004 editions of the Tour de France. That policy cost Tailwind $420,000. When Armstrong won the 2004 Tour, SCA was due to pay out $5m, on top of $4.5m it had already paid. SCA withheld the final payment because it wanted to investigate the allegations of doping made against Armstrong in David Walsh and Pierre Ballester’s book LA Confidentiel.

At an arbitration hearing, Armstrong was deposed to give evidence. That was where he said he owned a stake of around 10 per cent in Tailwind Sports. In the end, SCA Promotions settled out of court. The company has been following recent developments since Landis’s initial allegations in May closely.

Also raised at the SCA Promotions case was the issue of the donation made by Armstrong to the UCI to purchase anti-doping equipment. Armstrong said the donation was ‘around $25,000’.

Earlier this year, Pat McQuaid, the president of the UCI, said that the donation was $100,000 and the money was used to purchase a Sysmex machine.

Earlier this month, Mr McQuaid spoke about the payments and revealed there had been two payments – one of around $25,000 made by personal cheque from the account of Armstrong and his then wife in around 2002. The second payment was $100,000, made on Armstrong’s behalf by his management company, in 2005.

However, there are still inconsistencies in Mr McQuaid’s statements.

On June 2, Cycling Weekly submitted a request for an interview to the UCI, together with a list of 19 pertinent questions relating to Armstrong’s donation and the purchase of the Sysmex machine.

So far, despite a response saying the UCI would get back to us, all subsequent requests for an opportunity to ask the questions have fallen on deaf ears.

Related links

McQuaid confirms Armstrong donated $100,000 to UCI

Confusion over payment Armstrong made to UCI for Sysmex machine

US government assigns federal prosecutor to doping case sparked by Landis confession

May 19 Landis admits he doped, implicates others
May 20 UCI’s initial response to Landis allegations
May 20 WADA to investigate Landis allegations
May 20 Team Sky’s Dave Brailsford responds to allegations against Michael Barry
May 21 Armstrong denies doping allegations
May 23 Could US Postal Service be key to investigation?
May 23 Confusion over Armstrong’s donation to the UCI and the Sysmex machine
May 25 McQuaid confirms Armstrong’s donation was $100,000
May 25 After initially dismissing them, UCI now takes Landis allegations seriously
June 7 Armstrong heckled at Tour of Luxembourg
June 7 Landis is represented by same legal team as Lemond
June 10 US

Govt appoints federal prosecutor

  • Todd Rief

    Lance has owned 51% of Tailwind since ’02.

  • Colin Aldous

    Re. greg in ny,
    if you read the question carefully, you will see that it ask if la has any ownership of tailwind, la replied that he had a 10% stake, which in my opinion means he had a share of it. la can run but he can’t hide and he’ll be brought to account sooner or later and if proven to have cheated then i’d like him stripped of all his tour win.

    he swore under oath in 2005 that he had a small stake, yet today due no doubt to being so busy with the tour, he tells the media that he didn’t have a stake.

    I respect cycling weekly as a very honest and excellent publication… i know who i believe and its NOT you lance armstrong

  • Steve

    There is no way in the world Armstrong was referring to the US Postal Service. No one has or would suggest that Armstrong had any stake in the US Postal Service – it simply isn’t relevant. No one in their right mind thinks Armstrong had any interest in the USPS.

    No, he was referring to Tailwind, pure and simple. And if Cycling Weekly has it wrong, then so do the big American papers and ESPN.

  • Greg in NY

    I think the article is wrong. He said I had no ownership in the company (they inserted [tailwind] but I think he was saying he had not Ownership in USPS. Everyone is trying to tie his comment back to SCA where he said he had ownership in tailwind, however I do not think he is talking about Tailwind. He is talking about no ownership or control over USPS

  • Brian

    @Nigel gregory : To Expose Lance Armstrong for what he is, ie a pure FRAUD, is not derailling a “icon” of the Cycling sport. Armstrong cheated to win races, to gain notoriety and to make MONEY. He deserves no respect, no mercy.

    Keep up the good work Lionel Birnie. The specialist cycling press must contribute to clean our beloved sport by investigating and exposing the past.

  • Rory

    Incredible stuff, Lance has now contradicted two statements that he made under oath in the SCA case.
    I wonder if SCA can prove that the statements he made under oath were false (if they are) have they recourse to recoup some or all of the monies they paid to Lance?

  • Simon

    There appear to be so many ‘smoking guns’, this gets more and more like Custer’s Last Stand. I really don’t know how LA gets out of bed to face the public or can even look himself in the mirror every morning. He must have balls the size of coconuts. Or rather a ball the size of a coconut.

  • Matthew

    Maybe try asking Bob Stapleton.

    See if he is able to clear the matter up.

  • barry davies

    keep up the pressure Lionel, more skelitons appear day by day,
    The UCI need to open up and get rid of McQuaid as he is as corrupt as the rest of the bruyneel and his buddies
    cannot wait for Hamilton Andrau and even Vaughters appear before the Grand Jury.
    whats the betting LA does a tiger woods and confesses live in a pre arranged TV interview with McQuaid sat by his side. !!!

  • Nigel gregory

    i can understand that CW might want to take Lance to task but these regular attempts at investigative journalism are wearing so thin aimed at one man in particular [ok so you had a go Valverde but only through Puerto]. If you really want to derail icons of the sport you could be more even handed and go for Merckx, Hinault, Indurain, and the countless others, you could try Boardman, Elliot, Robert Millar. it just seems so one sided and even a little desperate.

  • Brian

    Great article CW. It will never be too late to nail LA, Bruyneel and the UCI corruption. Go FBI !!!
    The French Central Office against Environmental Damage and Public Health (OCLAESP), which has seized transfusion material and a number of suspect insulin syringes with presence of blood platelets at the Tour at the end of July last year, that belonged to the Astana and Caisse d’Epargne teams and had been deposited in the official waste bins provided by A.S.O., is continuing its investigation at this year’s Tour.
    Hope Rudy Pévenage is singing like a canari to Interpol.

  • Chris

    Keep asking the questions! Its great the WSJ and other big publications are now looking into these dealings which have overshadowed cycling since long before Landis spoke this spring, but we really need to see a knowledgeable, respected and well known specialist cycling press properly hunting for the truth too.
    And I pity the national cycling federations who are supposed to align with and report to the UCI. Every time MacQuaid speaks its undermines all their efforts and professionalism.

  • John Calliott

    And this from 7/1/2005 What Verbruggen & Armstrong said in 2005 is way different than McQuaid’s cover-up version. A more infrequently reported fact, although one that is by no means a secret, is that he has helped the UCI over the years in its fight against doping, by donating money to the cause. “I am a huge advocate of WADA, USADA, drug controls, random controls, out of competition controls,” said Armstrong in an interview with Cyclingnews last year. “I have donated money to the UCI over the years to increase [drug controls].”

    Dutch TV 2 aired a program on Lance Armstrong on Thursday evening hosted by Mart Smeets, who interviewed Hein Verbruggen, who confirmed that Armstrong sponsors UCI anti-doping investigations. One of the last things he did was to pay for the UCI’s new Sysmex blood testing machine, which measures the proportion of haemoglobin and reticulocytes in a rider’s blood to determine whether they have been artificially manipulating their red cells.

    “I know Lance didn’t want me to talk about this, but now he his career is coming to an end I said to him that I should make it public,” said Verbruggen. “He didn’t like that, but I think everybody has to know it.”

  • John Calliott

    I don’t know if links are allowed, but this is from an April 21, 2005 article: “UCI president Hein Verbruggen spoke to ‘Eurosport’ and divulged that the American “gave money for the research against doping, to discover new anti-doping methods,” “He gave money from his private funds, cash. He didn’t want this to be known but he did it”. Armstrong did not make this knowledge public and when questioned about the contribution said that “If I’ve donated money to the UCI to combat doping, step up controls and to fund research, it is not my job to issue a press release. That’s a secret thing, because it’s the right thing to do.” also reports that when questioned about the amounts of money involved there followed “(Laughter) It was a fair amount. It wasn’t… It wasn’t a small amount of money”.