Allegation: Armstrong Bribed Opponents To Let Him Win Races
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(WSCR) The case against Lance Armstrong’s credibility took another turn when a report surfaced that Lance Armstrong may have bribed opponents to let him win races.
According to New Zealand cyclist Stephen Swart’s sworn deposition from 2006, Armstrong offered the cyclist $50,000 if he would back off and let Armstrong win two races.
The alleged bribe took place in 1993 during the second race of a three-race system. If a cyclist won all three races, he would be awarded with a $1 million prize. Armstrong allegedly paid Swart to back off the final two races after Armstrong had won the first.
In his sworn deposition, Swart said that “prior to its finish, we were approached to, to obviously help them, well basically not help them, but to not attack them”.
When asked whether this meant “to, in effect, allow him to – to continue to win?”, Swart answered: “Yes.”
Swart, who was then riding with the Coors team, said the initial approach was made by a member of Armstrong’s Motorola team to another team-mate on the Coors team, and together, the two men met with Armstrong and Anderson in the hotel room shared by Armstrong and Anderson.
There, the offer of $50,000 was made, “if we didn’t be aggressive and challenge for the rest of the race and obviously for the final race in Philadelphia”.
When asked: “So, in effect, is it fair to say that you were offered money to not challenge Mr Armstrong, to allow him to win?” Swart replied: “That’s correct.”
Swart confirmed Armstrong was present when this conversation took place.
When asked: “Did he actually make the offer?”, Swart replied: “I think it was – coincided with Phil’s agreement, yes.”
Swart said the riders agreed to keep it quiet. When asked why, he replied: “Well, it’s not a – it’s not ethical if you look in the sporting arena, is it?”