Cycling-Doping allegations shadow Armstrong on farewell race

Reuters

Wed, 19 Jan 08:47:00 2011

Lance Armstrong faced yet another media grilling over doping allegations as the seven-times Tour de France champion continued his farewell ride at the Tour Down Under on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated magazine published fresh accusations against the 39-year-old American, who has been under scrutiny since former team mate Floyd Landis accused him and other prominent figures in the sport of doping last May.

"I have nothing to say," Armstrong told reporters when asked about the article before the start of the second stage.

The media, however, did not back down and continued to quiz the Texan, who has faced several allegations of taking illegal substances throughout his career, although he never tested positive.

"Like I said, I have nothing to say," he said, before admitting he read the report.

"I perused it... there's nothing there," he said.

When asked once again about the report, Armstrong told a reporter: "Dude, are you that stupid? What part of 'I'm not commenting' is not clear to you?"

An Armstrong representative told Reuters on Tuesday night that the American's legal team had no comment on the matter.

On the road, however, Armstrong finished safely in 42nd place in the main pack as Briton Ben Swift won a bunch sprint to secure Team Sky's first win in 2011.

Australian Robbie McEwen, Armstrong's team mate, was second and snatched the overall lead in the process.

HTC-Highroad's British sprint specialist Mark Cavendish was caught up in a crash some four kilometres from the finish but was able to avoid serious injury.

"On the impact, his helmet broke and his glasses cut the arch of his eyebrow and his eyelid," HTC-Highroad sports director Allan Peiper told Reuters.

"It's impressive. He could have sustained serious injuries."

Cavendish crossed the finish line three minutes 47 seconds behind Swift.

Thursday's third stage will take the peloton from Unley to Stirling.

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