LeMond reveals sex abuse after intimidation attempt

18th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2007 (AFP) - The Floyd Landis doping hearing took an ugly turn Thursday when Greg LeMond revealed he was sexually abused as a child and claimed a friend of Landis used that to intimidate him before he testified.

LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2007 (AFP) - The Floyd Landis doping hearing took an ugly turn Thursday when Greg LeMond revealed he was sexually abused as a child and claimed a friend of Landis used that to intimidate him before he testified.

Three-time Tour de France champion LeMond was called as a witness by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which is prosecuting the case against 2006 Tour winner Landis, whose urine sample after stage 17 of last year's Tour tested positive for synthetic testosterone.

LeMond said he received an anonymous phone call on Wednesday evening that came from a number that he traced to the phone of Landis' friend and manager, Will Geoghegan.

"I think he didn't want me coming here," LeMond told reporters as he left the Pepperdine University Law School building after testifying before a panel of three arbitrators.

LeMond was asked by USADA lawyer Matthew Barnett about a phone call he received from Landis last August 6 after news of the positive result of Landis' "A" sample had been leaked to the media.

Landis, who has denied cheating, confronted LeMond about remarks made to reporters. LeMond said he was careful not to accuse Landis but urged him to "come clean" if the charge was true.

"His response was: 'What good would it do,'" LeMond said. "He said he didn't see that anything good would come out of this.

"'If I did, it would destroy a lot of friends and a lot of people,'" LeMond said Landis told him.

LeMond said that, as a warning against the corrosive power of keeping such a secret, he shared with Landis the fact that he (LeMond) had been sexually abused in his youth and that keeping that secret "nearly destroyed me."

"I shared this with him with the idea that he might see what keeping a secret would do," LeMond said.

LeMond then testified that he was "very upset" when on Wednesday night the anonymous caller told him, "Greg, this is your uncle ... I'll be there tomorrow and we can talk about how we used to 'Hide your weenie.'"

"I got the picture right away," LeMond said. "I figured this was an effort at intimidation."

LeMond later said that Geoghegan, who was sitting with other Landis supporters behind the defense team's table in the small courtroom housing the hearing, "admitted that he called me and tried to apologize."

Maurice Suh, lead lawyer for Landis, immediately moved to distance the cyclist from the affair.

Speaking for the record after LeMond left the witness stand, Suh told the arbitrators that as of that moment, any business relationship between Landis and Geoghegan was terminated.

"He had served in the capacity as business manager at times prior to today," Suh said. "I'm still not sure exactly what the status was as of the last minute, but we have decided to terminate all business relationships between Mr Landis and Mr Geoghegan as of today, as of right now."

LeMond's ensuing cross-examination by Landis lawyer Howard Jacobs was cut short as LeMond declined to answer questions regarding his role in an arbitration involving another former Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong.

Jacobs said that if he couldn't pursue that line of questioning, which he said was directly related to LeMond's motives, he moved to strike LeMond's testimony entirely.

The arbitrators allowed the cross-examination to proceed.

However, with LeMond attorney Bruce Manning continuing to advise his client not to answer questions regarding Armstrong - the seven-time Tour champion who has vociferously battled unproven doping allegations - the cross-examination was halted.

LeMond's testimony was in sharp contrast to the turgid technical detail on laboratory procedures and scientific data interpretation that has dominated the proceedings since they started on Monday.

Earlier, Landis' attorneys grilled French laboratory technician Claire Frelate, an analytical chemist involved in analyzing Landis' stage 17 "B" sample.

She admitted that she made some mistakes in running the instruments during her processing of the urine sample that required her to stop and relaunch the process. She also testified that she knew she was testing Landis' sample.

While Landis has claimed that shoddy work at the laboratory led to inaccurate results, there was no discussion as to whether the errors had any effect on the final result of the tests.

Christiane Ayotte, the director of the World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory in Montreal, testified that in her opinion the documents she had reviewed on the case "support the result that was reached."

Under cross-examination by Jacobs she insisted it was not unusual for lab technicians to stop and re-start the instruments if they saw a glitch in the proceedings.

Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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