Sports

Sports

Cycling probe can’t avoid Armstrong

August 10, 2010

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— Lance Armstrong stands out in a federal investigation of cycling like a guy wearing a yellow jersey.

Agents are engaged in a wide-ranging probe of pro cycling, people with knowledge of their work have told The Associated Press, and Armstrong clearly appears to be, at the very least, a person of interest.

Authorities have obtained records of years-old doping allegations against him, contacted his sponsors and former teammate Floyd Landis has unleashed new claims about him.

Many of the other big names in American cycling during the past 25 years, including Greg LeMond, also have been drawn in by this inquiry being led, among others, by Jeff Novitzky, who is credited with uncovering baseball’s steroid era via the BALCO investigation.

A federal grand jury seated in Los Angeles will decide where it goes next.

While federal authorities have not disclosed who they are scrutinizing, dozens of interviews by the AP with people involved in the case reveal a broad investigation that began with cyclists who had records of doping. It then turned toward Armstrong, who has denied using performance-enhancing drugs and has hundreds of clean doping tests as evidence.

Those on Armstrong’s side appear willing to fight what could be the mother of all doping cases — an aggressive prosecution versus a defendant with millions of dollars and a prideful streak.

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