LeMond-McIlvain recording to be used in Landis investigation
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

LeMond-McIlvain recording to be used in Landis investigation

by Shane Stokes at 4:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Statements on tape appear to contradict evidence given in 2005 hearings

A recording made in 2004 between Greg LeMond and a woman who has been identified as Stephanie McIlvain has been obtained by Federal prosecutors. According to the LA Times, this is expected to be presented to a federal grand jury who are looking into claims of widespread doping on the US Postal Service team and elsewhere.

McIlvain is the longtime liason between Oakley and Lance Armstrong. In the recording, which VeloNation has heard and which can be downloaded from the internet, LeMond asks her about a conversation that reported took place in 1996 when Armstrong was being treated for cancer.

According to Frankie and Betsy Andreu, who were present in the hospital room, the US cyclist was asked by a doctor if he had used performance enhancing drugs. They said that he named a number of banned substances which he had consumed, including EPO and growth hormone, and testified as such in a trial held in 2005.

McIlvain was also present, and told LeMond that she would tell the truth about what she heard if she was summoned to give evidence.

“If it did get down where it was a lawsuit, would you be willing to testify?" LeMond asked her.

“If I was subpoenaed, I would. ... I'm not going to lie,” said McIlvain in the recording. “I was in that room. I heard it. I definitely won’t lie. My whole concern is my loyalties to Oakley.

“The funny thing about it is that they don’t remember me, or they say wasn’t in there. But I was in there, and I know I was in there – that was the first time I met Betsy [Andreu]. We were watching the Dallas Cowboy game.”

The two of them also discuss doping on the US Postal Service team, making it clear that they both believed banned substances were being used by Armstrong and others. McIlvain also implicates George Hincapie, and speaks of her concerns that if she spoke out against Armstrong that she could lose her job.

She was subsequently summoned to give a deposition in a trial in 2005, which was a clash between Armstrong and SCA Promotions. The company had been paid a premium by the US Postal Service team to cover the bonuses due if Armstrong won multiple Tours de France, and was due to pay out a $5-million performance bonus after he won his sixth Tour.

In her deposition, McIlvain denied that she ever heard Armstrong admit using banned substances. SCA Promotions ultimately settled the case, paying Armstrong the bonus, legal fees plus interest. It is understood that the payout was made as there was no clause in the original agreement governing doping, and that the matter came down to contract law.

In the 2004 recording, McIlvain was told by LeMond that she was not being taped. As a result, the recording was not admissible as evidence as under Californian law, both parties have to be aware that the conversation is being taped.

Armstrong’s spokesman Mark Fabiani dismissed talk that the recording might be used in the current investigation. "Greg LeMond's illegal tape is the stalest of all the stale news to emerge from this inquiry so far,” he told the LA Times. “Ms. McIlvain disavowed this during her 2005 sworn deposition, and Mr. LeMond violated California law when he made the tape in yet another of his pathetic attempts to settle old cycling grudges."

However, the LA Times spoke to legal expert Laurie Levenson, who said that in federal cases, taped conversations can be used as evidence as long as one of the parties concerned is aware of the recording.

For now, it appears that she is not prepared to change her position. The LA Times made numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact her but her attorney, Tom Beinart, made it clear that he didn’t envisage any changes.

“It's a shame certain people, including Mr. LeMond, who have an agenda, were attempting to get people to say things that are incriminating. Regardless of their efforts and intent, Ms. McIlvain does not have any evidence that would represent incriminating information about Mr. Armstrong on blood doping or performance-enhancing drugs.”

Investigators recently obtained a number of recordings from Betsy Andreu, who told the newspaper that McIlvain left voicemail messages on her phone expressing regret for "lying" in the 2005 Texas civil case deposition.

Those recordings plus the taped conversation with LeMond could ramp up the pressure on her when her previous testimony is examined.

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