Austin cyclist Lance Armstrong’s attorneys are demanding an apology from “60 Minutes” after the CBS News program aired accusations that the seven-time Tour de France winner tested positive for a banned substance at the 2001 Tour de Switzerland race.
The allegation was made by US Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton in this interview that aired last Sunday.
“I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator. I saw him inject it more than one time,” Hamilton said in the interview. EPO, or erythropoietin, is a performance-enhancing hormone that controls red blood cell production.
In this letter to “60 Minutes”, Armstrong’s lawyers said the assertion was “incorrect, false, and broadcast in error.” The letter goes on to argue against specific allegations made in the story, and demands “60 Minutes” producers “issue an on-air apology to Mr. Armstrong for the demonstrable falsehood that you recklessly presented, and then bolstered with other untrue assertions and facts taken out of context.”
Armstrong has beefed up his defense against doping allegations in recent months, including the creation of this website to counter specific accusations, and hiring two famous San Francisco attorneys to fight on his behalf.
As KUT reported in May, the Armstrong controversy is the subject of much talk in Austin’s cycling community.
“I think he’ll still be a celebrity, I just think in a different way. He’ll be seen in a negative light,” said UT student and avid cyclist Walker Rowsey, who went all the way to France to watch Armstrong pedal down the Champs-Élysées to his 6th Tour de France victory in 2004.
But Craig Staley, general manager of Armstrong’s downtown bike shop, Mellow Johnny’s, says cycling in Austin is bigger than Lance.
“As far as I concerned, cycling in general and cycling in Austin, I think there are things that will continue no matter what the outcome is,” Staley said. “We haven’t seen it really change the path for the store or the number of people wanting to be involved in the sport.”