Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Grand jury hears from Armstrong staffer
ESPN.com news services
LOS ANGELES -- A staff member for Lance Armstrong's Team RadioShack testified Wednesday before a federal grand jury being presented evidence of alleged doping in pro cycling.
Exercise physiologist Allen Lim said in a statement released to The Associated Press that the appearance allowed him to "set the record straight" about his efforts to prevent doping in cycling.
"I testified willingly, and openly, to the grand jury and took great pride and care in telling them the truth about my experiences in the world of professional cycling," the statement said.
The statement did not mention what he was asked or told the panel about Armstrong or cyclist Floyd Landis, with whom Lim also has ties. But in a telephone call Tuesday night, he told ESPN.com's Bonnie D. Ford: "I am cooperating with the federal investigation and look forward to setting the record straight. When I worked with Floyd, I repeatedly told him that he didn't need to dope and should not dope, and I was absolutely not hired to help him to do so. Since then, I've spent my career promoting clean sport and keeping innumerable athletes from cheating, as well as assisting in catching those who are."
Lim's testimony came the same day that it was revealed that three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador tested positive for a banned substance during this year's race and has been suspended by cycling's governing body.
Lim was seen reporting to the grand jury room around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He was greeted by an assistant U.S. attorney overseeing the probe, which has issued subpoenas and solicited testimony about whether Armstrong and other cyclists took banned substances.
Landis accused Lim in an e-mail earlier this year of helping him cheat during his career. Lim has denied the allegations put forward by Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for doping.
"Floyd's admission speaks for itself," he told Ford last May. "The only thing I know with certainty is that I could not work with an athlete whom I knew to be using performance-enhancing drugs. I've worked very hard to make this a better sport."
In his statement Wednesday, Lim said he is committed to preventing doping in professional cycling.
"I look forward to continuing the fight against doping and to imbue athletes with my passionate belief that performance enhancing drugs are unnecessary and a tremendous health risk," the statement said.
Grand juries meet in closed session, and testimony is sealed. It was unclear how much time Lim spent before the panel, which broke for the day late Wednesday.
Armstrong, who won the Tour a record seven times, has repeatedly denied allegations he took performance-enhancing drugs.
Federal authorities have declined to comment on the investigation, which is being aided by Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky, who previously investigated steroid abuse in Major League Baseball and track and field. Novitzky also was seen in the grand jury area Wednesday and declined comment at the end of the day.
Lim is the latest Armstrong associate to be summoned by prosecutors. Last week, longtime Armstrong friend Stephanie McIlvain appeared before jurors in an all-day session.
Her attorney later said McIlvain told the panel she had never heard Armstrong admit that he used banned substances.
McIlvain was present in the hospital room where Armstrong was being treated for cancer in 1996, when former teammate Frankie Andreu and his wife, Betsy, claim the cyclist told doctors he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Several of Armstrong's former teammates also have been contacted, and a person with knowledge of the probe told The Associated Press that former cyclist Kevin Livingston might also testify before the grand jury as early as Wednesday, although Livingston was not seen in public areas of the courthouse. Livingston was a U.S. Postal Service team member with Armstrong in 2000. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the investigation was ongoing.
Information from ESPN.com's Bonnie D. Ford and The Associated Press was used in this report.