Tuesday, January 18, 2011
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NEW YORK -- A story in Sports Illustrated challenges Lance Armstrong's statements that he cut ties to a controversial Italian doctor and training adviser who has long been accused of helping cyclists cheat.
In a report posted Tuesday on its website, the magazine previewed a longer investigative piece that will appear in this week's issue, available Wednesday.
Without naming its source, SI says that when Italian authorities raided the home of Armstrong teammate Yaroslav Popovych last November in Italy, they found texts and e-mails linking the Radio Shack team with Dr. Michele Ferrari as recently as 2009.
Armstrong severed his connection with Ferrari in 2004, amid accusations the doctor aided another rider in using performance-enhancing drugs. Ferrari was convicted and then later cleared of criminal charges on appeal.
Armstrong spokesman Mark Fabiani calls the report "old news from the same old, discredited sources."
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has been hearing evidence for months on cheating in professional cycling. The investigation turned toward Armstrong -- and several of his associates have testified before the panel -- since ex-teammate Floyd Landis accused the seven-time Tour de France winner of systematic doping.
Armstrong won the Tour de France every year from 1999 to 2005. He's currently competing in the Tour Down Under in Australia, which he says will be his last race outside the United States.