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'Armstrong may become symbol for decades of corruption in professional cycling'


January 23, 2011 - Wellington

American racing cyclist Lance Armstrong's former bike mechanic and personal assistant believes the seven-time Tour de France champion is in danger of becoming a permanent "symbol for decades of corruption".

Mike Anderson has predicted a bleak future for Armstrong despite his vehement and continual protests that he has not used performance-enhancing drugs during his celebrated career.

Anderson had moved to Wellington after falling out and settling a lawsuit with Armstrong, and his testimony in that case has been seized upon by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA is investigating whether Armstrong was involved in an organized effort to use illegal performance-enhancing drugs when he led the US Postal team from 1999 to 2004.

"I've spoken to (FDA probe's head, Jeff) Novitzky on the phone at length last year. The guy is described by people as the Elliott Ness of his area of law enforcement and if you've got him on your tail you're in big trouble," Stuff.co.nz quoted Anderson, as saying.

"He doesn't undertake things he isn't going to win. Those guys have a ridiculously high ratio of convictions - they don't undertake superfluous investigations and I don't think this is going to be a good outcome if you're Lance Armstrong," he added.

Anderson further said that he had no "personal vendetta" against Armstrong.

"Whatever happens, happens. But what he may become is a symbol for decades of corruption in professional cycling," Anderson said.

Earlier, last year, Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis had shaken the cycling world by publicly accusing Armstrong and other team members of using performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions to gain an unfair advantage.

Landis had said that Armstrong had encouraged doping and that the team had sold its bikes to help finance an expensive doping program.

Armstrong, on the other hand, has always vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

The 39-year-old is considered one of the more remarkable athletes in American history, someone who dominated his sport and also had a compelling personal story, having beaten Testicular cancer.

ANI

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