Italian Simeoni questioned over Tour incident


FLORENCE (Italy): Lance Armstrong's bitter foe Filippo Simeoni was questioned by investigators from the Italian drug squad on Tuesday over an incident between him and Armstrong during the Tour de France. 

The investigators grilled Simeoni for three hours about what happened when Armstrong chased down an early attack by the Italian on the 18th stage of the Tour earlier this month. 

In an unusual move for a race leader confronted with a rider who is no threat to his dominance, Armstrong had chased after the Domina Vacanze team rider who had made a breakaway and the pair exchanged words before Simeoni later dropped back into the peloton leaving his fellow escapees to carry on in the lead. 

Simeoni, 32, is a key witness in the trial of controversial Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari, with whom Armstrong has admitted working in the past, and earlier in the race had confirmed his intention to take Armstrong to court for defamation. 

Simeoni wants to sue the six-time Tour winner over comments made in French newspaper Le Monde in July 2003 in which Armstrong said Simeoni had “lied” when he gave evidence to investigators saying it was Ferrari who had showed him how to use the banned blood booster EPO effectively. 

Ferrari has been quoted as saying that EPO was no more harmful for one than a glass of orange juice. 

Investigators are considering whether to open legal proceedings against Armstrong for sporting fraud, violence, and intimidation of a witness. – AFP  

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