London: Disgraced seven-time cycling world champion Lance Armstrong got banned blood booster erythropoietin, known as EPO, delivered to him against a payment during the 1999 Tour de France, according to former teammate Tyler Hamilton.
"Yeah in '99 we had a motorcycle driver...we had him follow the Tour around for the better part of three weeks. He’d stay close enough to where we were staying at the hotels to drop off at any key moment. We knew other people were going to take risks so we were gonna take it too. Lance paid him between $15000-20000 to do it," Hamilton said in a BBC radio documentary broadcast yesterday. Hamilton said they put the used syringes into drinks cans before crushing them. He was one of Armstrong’s US Postal teammates from 1998 to 2001.
"Then, as Lance had won the Tour, we would all club together to buy him a Rolex watch. Somewhere out there he’s wearing a gold Rolex watch," Hamilton revealed.
Johan Bruyneel, America's team manager, is also among the four accused by USADA and is contesting the case. Armstrong's former soigneur (masseuse and assistant) at USA Postal Emma O'Reilly, who also furnished evidence to the probing body, said how she once drove to Spain from France to get some tablets for the champion cyclist.
"I had to rent a car in France...Took six hours to drive and also that was another reason I knew it was something because Lance had said to me 'don't tell your boyfriend'.
"I used to say to some of the soigneurs, 'you are drug runners', and that's what I was being for the weekend," she added.
Questions raised over Armstrong's $100,000-donation to UCI
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has been criticised for accepting a cash donation from disgraced Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
The UCI has admitted accepting a donation of more than 100,000 US dollars from Armstrong in 2002, but has strongly denied that it was connected to any cover-up of a positive test.
Dr Michael Ashenden, acknowledged as the foremost expert in blood doping and the man whose test caught Armstrong's US Postal team-mate Tyler Hamilton, told BBC Radio Five Live's programme 'Peddlers - Cycling's Dirty Truth': "The UCI should never have accepted money from Armstrong under any circumstances. But if they took money after they were aware there were grounds to suspect Armstrong had used EPO it takes on a really sinister complexion."
Ashenden said there was a worrying triangle involving Armstrong, the UCI and a drug-testing laboratory in Lausanne.
He added: "We know Armstrong paid the UCI more than 100,000 US dollars and around that time the UCI gave the Lausanne laboratory free use of a blood analyser worth 60-70,000 US dollars. The laboratory then meets with Armstrong, all of this takes place at about the time that Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton said under oath that Armstrong bragged he had managed to have a result covered up."