Armstrong associate appears before grand jury: Report

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2010, 14:14 PM IST

Los Angeles: Stephanie McIlvain, one of
seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong`s former
close associates, testified before an American grand jury, the
Los Angeles Times has reported.

The grand jury wanted to hear from McIlvain because it is
looking into systematic doping in professional cycling.

McIlvain spent more than seven hours talking to the grand
jury panel yesterday where she described previously
tape-recorded comments in which she talks negatively about
Armstrong as nothing more than "gossip sessions that just
weren`t true," her lawyer Tom Bienert told the Times.

Bienert, who was not in the room with his client, said
"it was an emotional day" for his client but she "testified
truthfully."

The grand jury is interested in what she has to say about
the events in a hospital room in 1996 when she and others were
visiting Armstrong, who was being treated for cancer at the
time.

McIlvain, who was Armstrong`s link with sunglass maker
and sponsor Oakley, worked closely with Armstrong during the
years he won the Tour de France.

According to an ex-teammate of Armstrong`s and his wife,
Armstrong told doctors in that room that he had used
performance-enhancing drugs.

In a civil lawsuit and now in front of the grand jury,
McIlvain testified that she never heard Armstrong`s admission.

However, McIlvain was taped in a 2004 phone call, telling
American cyclist Greg LeMond that she heard Armstrong`s
admission and she was willing to testify to that. LeMond
secretly recorded the phone call with McIlvain.

Armstrong has vehemently denied using
performance-enhancing drugs.

The grand jury is probing allegations by another
decorated American cyclist, and ex-Armstrong teammate, Floyd
Landis, that Armstrong and other riders on the US Postal
cycling team used performance-enhancing drugs.

Bureau Report