Lance denies LeMond's payoff claim

Updated: July 19, 2010, 1:06 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

AX-3 DOMAINES, France -- Lance Armstrong dismissed as "nonsense" a reported claim by Greg LeMond that the seven-time Tour de France champion tried to pay someone $300,000 to say LeMond used a banned drug.

LeMond, a three-time Tour de France champion, told the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung's weekend issue that Armstrong tried to implicate him "by all means" in a scandal involving EPO, a performance enhancer.

According to a report Friday in the Daily News of New York, LeMond has been served with a grand jury subpoena as part of a federal investigation of possible fraud and doping charges against Armstrong and his associates.

LeMond refused to reveal the identity of the person who was allegedly offered money by Armstrong, saying he still works in cycling.

Armstrong dismissed the accusation after Sunday's 14th stage of the Tour.

"That's absolutely nonsense -- $300,000?" Armstrong said, when asked by The Associated Press about the allegations. "Come on. I know [about the report]. But he says a lot."

"That's just another thing," he said, alluding to years of antagonism between the two American Tour champions.

Armstrong hit back again on a French television talk show after Sunday's stage.

"Obviously, Greg LeMond has made it his life's work to attack me," he said. "I have my passions in life and things I work on that have nothing to do with attacking people. But that's OK. He's obsessed with this. I wish him luck. I'm not at all -- zero percent -- worried about this process. You have to keep in mind that it's been 10 years of investigation and processes. They have all resulted in nothing. I have nothing to hide. There will always be people who want to pile on."

Later on the talk show, Armstrong made a direct reference to the ongoing federal investigation, whose value he had harshly questioned last week.

"Look, we're all going to get a chance to sit in front of the authorities and speak the truth, and I hope that Greg LeMond speaks the truth about 1989," he said. Armstrong did not explain what he meant by the allusion to the second of LeMond's three Tour victories, which LeMond won by the closest margin in history -- eight seconds -- by acing a time trial on the final day of the race.

The federal investigation was spurred by accusations by Floyd Landis, a former teammate of Armstrong's on the U.S. Postal team, in a series of emails sent to cycling and doping officials this spring.

Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour title for doping, said the use of banned substances was common on the team. Armstrong has denied those allegations and has questioned Landis' credibility.

Information from ESPN.com's Bonnie D. Ford and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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