Three time Tour de France champion, American Greg Lemond, has leveled an outlandish accusation at 7 time Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong–that Armstrong paid $300,000 to a European newspaper reporter to plant a story that Lemond was the first cyclist to use the performance enhancing drug, Erythropoeitin (EPO), according to a report from the German newspaper Seuddeutsche Zaitlung.

LeMond, who was served with a grand jury subpoena last week, told a reporter from the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that Armstrong tried to implicate him in drug use because he perceived LeMond as an enemy for suspecting Armstrong of doping.

Armstrong told The Associated Press he was aware of the accusation and dismissed it as just another episode in a long-running feud between the two men.

“That’s absolutely nonsense – $300,000?” Armstrong said. “Come on. I know (about the report). But he says a lot.”

Armstrong and the leadership of his storied cycling teams are the focus of a federal grand jury’s inquiry into possible drug and fraud crimes.

Why would Armstrong level such a damaging claim against Lemond, an American cycling legend but one whose Tour victories came in 1986, 1989, and 1990?  Could it be about lingering animus that Armstrong has for Lemond, who is an outspoken opponent of doping in cycling and who sued Armstrong and subpoenaed Armstrong’s ex-wife Kristin and other Armstrong friends Frank and Betsey Andreu who have privately and publicly admitted that Armstrong spoke to cancer doctors about his use of PEDs in front of them?  Could Armstrong be trying to deflect some of the attention he is getting from law enforcement since Floyd Landis’ admission that he doped and Lance doped and that they doped together, namely FDA Special Investigator Jeff Novitsky, a shining star in PED investigations who has been involved with many high profile investigations?

Ironically, it was recently learned by scientists that Erythropoeitin, a performance enhancing drug in its own right which increases the capacity of oxygenation in the blood, also magnifies the impact of trace amounts of steroids in an athlete’s system, amounts that would be undetectable on drug tests but would have a dramatic increase on performance levels.

The blood-boosting hormone that was cycling’s greatest doping issue during the 1990s may be back as the sport’s newest problem.It has long been known that athletes can use small, carefully timed doses of the blood booster EPO to beat urine-based drug tests yet still gain a significant performance advantage. But research in Australia and France has found that the technique also eludes the long-range biological passport program that was supposed to overcome conventional testing’s shortcomings.

At the World Anti-Doping Agency board meeting here earlier this month, officials acknowledged that they had a problem when it came to the technique, known as microdosing. Few people in the antidoping world think the loophole is unknown to cyclists, leading to concern that EPO is making a comeback.

Of course Lemond has never been detected to have EPO in his system, but Armstrong has.  An Armstrong sample that was archived from 1999 tested positive for EPO in 2005 when it was not yet a banned substance, despite the fact the chemical was a long standing doping issue in the cycling community.  It has taken cycling many years to catch up to the potential for performance enhancement of EPO, for which the scientific community didn’t have an accurate test for in 1999.  Armstrong, who despises Lemond, probably saw the opportunity to smear Lemond in the European press as a way to lessen the American legend’s credibility as a credible voice in cycling who has come out in support of Floyd Landis, and as a continuation of the bad blood that has existed for almost 2 decades between the 2 men, and which was exacerbated when Lemond subpoenaed Armstrong’s ex-wife and friends, forcing them to testify to their knowledge of Armstrong’s doping–in the case of the Andreu’s at least. 

Obviously, Armstrong’s ex-wife Krista, the mother of four of Armstrong’s children, did not incriminate Armstrong in doping, but could have left herself open to perjury charges as the Fred Miller/Jeff Novitsky prosecutorial/investigatorial team ramps up their efforts to smoke out doping in cycling.

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