Armstrong case: French lawyer says planned hotel search was blocked
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Armstrong case: French lawyer says planned hotel search was blocked

by Shane Stokes at 8:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Mountain Biking
 
Texan second in MTB event yesterday

Lance ArmstrongFollowing on after yesterday’s claims that Lance Armstrong was give advance warnings of surprise out of competition tests, French lawyer Thibault de Montbrial has said that a planned raid on the team hotel in 2005 was called off at the last minute.

Claiming it was a sign the rider was protected, he said that the officers set to carry out the raid were ‘furious’ at what they felt was interference.

“I know that during the 2005 Tour de France, on the second rest day in Pau, the U.S. Postal team was on the verge of undergoing a search of its hotel,” he told the Journal du Dimanche. [Note - the team was called Discovery Channel that year due to a sponsor change - ed.]  “A French investigation team had come from Paris to make a raid. But I know from a very good source that at about five o’clock, while they were at the hotel, investigators received a red light"

“I do not know who gave the order ... But I know that the investigators were furious at having to turn back. Obviously, Lance Armstrong was indeed protected in France,” he claimed.

De Montbrial previously defended authors David Walsh and Pierre Ballester, who were sued by Armstrong over the book ‘L. A. Confidential’. He was also involved in the SCA Promotions insurance case.

Earlier this week Armstrong opted not to fight USADA’s doping charges against him. He said he couldn’t get a fair hearing. A Texas federal court judge had previously voiced concerns about the approach of both USADA and the UCI, but ruled that the arbitration and appeals process was ‘sufficiently robust’ to ensure his due process was not affected. USADA has stripped him of his results from August 1998 onwards, and given him a lifetime ban. The UCI and WADA have requested details of the evidence. If they have any concerns about the ruling, they are entitled to appeal it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. USADA has said that it will release the evidence it has gathered at a later point, saying that some of it cannot be made public until the arbitration hearings of Johan Bruyneel, Pedro Celaya and Pepe Marti have taken place. However more details are expected to emerge shortly.

Meanwhile Armstrong competed in the Power of Four mountain bike race in Aspen yesterday, an event presumably not under the jurisdiction of USA Cycling. He finished second to sixteen-year-old Keegan Swirbul.

“Nobody needs to cry for me; I’m going to be great,” he told reporters. “I have five great kids and a wonderful lady in my life. My foundation is unaffected by all the noise out there.”

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