Lance Armstrong came to Silver Spring to promote his latest sponsor. Instead, the five-time defending Tour de France champion wound up refuting the latest charges he used performance-enhancing drugs.
“Enough is enough,” Armstrong said at the office of the Discovery Channel, which will become his cycling team’s sponsor next year. “We are sick and tired of these allegations. And we are going to do everything we can to fight them. They are absolutely untrue.”
The 32-year-old Armstrong has filed suit in Paris and London to stop the release of the book “L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong,” in which London sportswriter David Walsh claims Armstrong became the world’s dominant cyclist with the help of blood doping.
“I can absolutely confirm that we don’t use doping products,” said Armstrong, who will attempt to win an unprecedented sixth consecutive Tour de France later this month. “I personally am very frustrated. It is obviously distracting to an athlete before the tour. But for me, success is the best thing.”
Walsh, whose lengthy feuds with Armstrong and French cycling writer Pierre Ballester have included multiple references to Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs, suggests in the book Armstrong used the substances during 1998 and 1999.
Excerpts, which were printed last weekend by French magazine L’Express and Walsh’s paper, the Sunday Times of London, said the cyclist used banned substances, including the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO). Armstrong said he will file libel suits against the writers as well as the Sunday Times and L’Express.
The book quotes physical therapist Emma O’Reilly, who worked with Armstrong’s U.S. Postal team from 1998 to 2000. Those years marked Armstrong’s return to the sport after he was sidelined with advanced testicular cancer.
O’Reilly claims she disposed of used syringes after the 1998 Tour of Holland and says she was sent to pick up a vial of pills and deliver them to Armstrong during training sessions in 1999. She also says she used makeup to conceal a syringe mark on Armstrong’s arm before the start of the 1999 Tour de France.
However, O’Reilly says she did not know what was in the syringes or the vial.
“It is simply a few journalists that have taken this on as a personal mission,” said Armstrong, who planned to return to Europe last night to continue training. “This is not the first time I have lived through this. I heard it in 1999. I heard it in 2001. Again in 2003. It happens all the time. And every time we have chosen to just sit back and let it pass, but we sort of reached a point where we really can’t take it anymore.”
O’Reilly also claims U.S. Postal team officials forged a prescription for glucocorticoid in 1999 after Armstrong tested positive for the substance, which is commonly used to treat road rash skin abrasions. Because Armstrong had a prescription, he was allowed to continue competing in the Tour de France.
“It’s fine for you to level allegations, but you better be able to back them up,” Armstrong told ESPN. “I want to win this [Tour de France]. I am not going to allow this to derail it.”