An attorney for Lance Armstrong has strongly denied a claim in a French newspaper that the American cycling legend admitted to doping three years before the first of his record seven Tour de France victories.
An article in Le Monde detailed testimony made under oath in a Dallas courtroom by Armstrong's former teammate Frankie Andreu, and his wife, Betsy. They claimed that in 1996 Armstrong admitted to taking the blood-boosting hormone EPO and other banned substances.
But Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman, called the Andreus' claims "absurd," and gave the Associated Press a copy of an affidavit from one of the lead doctors who treated Armstrong's testicular cancer.
In the sworn affidavit, Dr. Craig Nichols said he and other medical personnel talked with Armstrong about his medical history on October 28, 1996 -- before he started chemotherapy. Nichols said Armstrong never admitted, suggested or indicated that he had ever taken performance-enhancing drugs.
Le Monde also said the Andreus' account was denied by a third person, Stephanie McIlvain, a friend of Armstrong's who was also at the session with the doctor. She testified that she did not hear Armstrong make such an admission.
Armstrong has consistently denied ever taking banned substances to enhance his performance. The seven-time Tour de France winner was never sanctioned for any doping offense during his career.