Lance Armstrong’s legal team may have sought ammunition against Novitzky from Victor Conte
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lance Armstrong’s legal team may have sought ammunition against Novitzky from Victor Conte

by Shane Stokes at 4:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Balco founder admits he has doubts about multiple Tour de France winner’s past

Victor ConteVictor Conte, who had a long battle against federal agent Jeff Novitzky before finally admitting that he doped athletes, has said that his legal team have been met by lawyers representing Lance Armstrong.

The purpose of that appears to be an effort to build information against Novitzky, who Conte has claimed broke the law in order to secure convictions against himself and others. He reiterated those claims on the Yahoo Sports In Depth programme, where he gave his interview.

“They[Armstrong’s legal team] have reached out to my two criminal defence attorneys in San Francisco…they came out from Texas to sit and meet with them,” he said.

“Some other representatives…also reached out and touched base with my attorney in New York. Their interest is in all the things we are talking about today, the things that were in my written declarations about Mr Jeff Novitzy.”

When pressed to elaborate on what kind of information he felt they were looking for, Conte hinted it was part of a campaign to combat the federal agent.

“I think there is an interesting full circle that you have just described regarding what I think about the perjurer, in my opinion [Novitzky], chasing down and trying to prosecute and punish other alleged perjurers in the world of sport,” he said.

“[They are] probably anticipating that at some point that, as with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, there will one day be an indictment against Lance Armstrong.”

Novitzky has been looking into alleged doping on the US Postal Service team, Rock Racing and elsewhere in the sport. His push is partly related to Floyd Landis’ claims of widespread use of banned substances on the first of those teams. He has summoned various witnesses to give evidence and has also been liaising with anti-doping officials and police forces in France, Italy and Belgium.

Although Conte presents himself as a reformed character and one who is working for the cleaning-up of sport, he remains angry at Novitzky, who he appears to blame for his punishment. In October 2005 he was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment and four months’ house arrest. In interviews since then, he has regularly questioned Novitzky’s methods and what he says is bending of rules.

Admits to having doubts about Armstrong:

Conte was asked if he had spoken to Armstrong himself, and said that he had not. He was then asked what he believed was the likelihood that the Texan had used performance enhancing substances. He answered by saying that he thought it was more likely than not.

“It probably wouldn’t be fair to give my opinion and I have no direct knowledge about him whatsoever,” he said, for a moment appearing unlikely to say more. “But I think it is certainly suspicious…at the elite level of the sport - as I said publicly as far back as six years ago - athletes do what they have to do in order to be competitive.

“To win the Tour de France that many is so gruelling, and what I know about how effective the performance enhancing drugs really are, it is very difficult for somebody to compete with somebody else who is using without them also using.

“We know now that lots of people have tested positive and been suspended and banned…so do I think it’s likely that he did [use doping]? As my opinion, and that’s all that it is, I think there is a strong possibility.”

Conte worked with a large number of top athletes in the past, including multipe Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, her partner Tim Montgomery, Kelli White, British athlete Dwain Chambers, and NFL player Bill Romanowski.

He implicated each of those in an interview with ABC’s 20/20 programme. Jones was found guilty of lying to federal agents and spent six months in jail in 2008, Montgomery was adjudged to have used banned substances and was suspended and stripped of his results; he also lost the 100m world record of 9.78 seconds he had set in 2002.

He subsequently was arrested for dealing heroin and being part of a New York-based check fraud scheme. Montgomery is currently serving a five year prison term in relation to those crimes.


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