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Archive for Friday, July 7, 2006

Armstrong dismisses defamation lawsuits

July 7, 2006

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— Lance Armstrong dropped defamation lawsuits in France after winning three legal battles elsewhere over doping accusations.

Donald Manasse and Christian Charriere-Bournazel, Armstrong's lawyers in France, said Thursday the seven-time Tour de France champion had instructed them to "dismiss all pending actions."

That means a trial set to start in October against the authors of the book "LA Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong" will not proceed. The book accused Armstrong of using banned substances, a claim he has always denied.

"I think we're 10-0 in lawsuits right now," Armstrong said Thursday. "My life is not about that anymore. I've answered all the questions."

Armstrong recently settled a libel case against Britain's Sunday Times newspaper over a June 2004 article that referred to the book, written by Pierre Ballester and David Walsh. The settlement followed a pretrial ruling by a High Court judge in Armstrong's favor. Two other recent rulings also vindicated Armstrong.

Armstrong said he wanted to spend money on personal causes, like his Lance Armstrong Foundation, instead of litigation. Asked if dropping the lawsuits meant he thought the accusations would cease, Armstrong said, "Probably not. No. But that's OK."

Armstrong was hounded by allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his record Tour wins from 1999-05. He is now retired from cycling.

A May 31 report by Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman, acting for the International Cycling Union, also cleared Armstrong's name. The governing body appointed Vrijman in October to investigate the handling of urine samples from the 1999 Tour by a French lab.

The investigation followed a report by the French sports daily L'Equipe that six of Armstrong's urine samples tested positive for the endurance-booster EPO. There was no reliable test for EPO in 1999, but urine samples were preserved and analyzed later when the technology was available.

"Mr. Armstrong has now been vindicated on three different occasions in three different countries by independent, impartial judges, arbitrators and investigators," his lawyers said in a statement.

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