I was just a rider on the team, says Armstrong

Paris: Seven-times Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong said on Wednesday he had not owned a stake in the company behind the U.S. Postal team at the time under scrutiny by American investigators.

"It was not my company, I didn`t have a position, I didn`t have an equity stake, I didn`t have a profit stake, I didn`t have a seat on the board. I was a rider on the team. I can`t be any clearer than that," Armstrong said.

A newspaper reported on Tuesday that officials were issuing grand jury subpoenas to witnesses as part of an investigation into alleged fraud and doping.

Investigators were particularly interested in the people who financed the squad sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service and owned by a company named Tailwind Sports, the newspaper said.

"When the Postal Services were sponsors of the team I was a rider on the team," Armstrong told reporters before the 10th stage of the Tour de France.

"I was a rider on the team that was contracted to Tailwind Sports. I never had any dealing, any dealings with the Postal Services. Zero."

"There is a lot of information out there and being somebody that knows the situation probably better than anybody else, it`s not very accurate," the American added.

"I think the most glaring thing is this misperception that I was the owner of the team. That`s completely untrue."

The American investigation began after disgraced Tour winner Floyd Landis said that he and other riders on the U.S. Postal Service team had used performance-enhancing drugs in the early to mid-2000s.

Armstrong, who has never tested positive for banned substances, has dismissed Landis`s allegations.

Armstrong, who lies 31st in the Tour standings after crumbling in Sunday`s stage, said he was ready to cooperate with the investigators.

"As long as we have a legitimate and credible and fair investigation I will be happy to cooperate but I`m not going to participate in any kind of witch hunt," he said.

Bureau Report