Ex-liaison to Armstrong Stephanie McIlvain reportedly to testify in U.S. doping probe

Stephanie McIlvain testified in an earlier case that she never heard the seven-time Tour de France champ admit to using performance-enhancing drugs.

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A woman who worked with Lance Armstrong during the years he won the Tour de France is expected to testify in a federal probe of doping in cycling, The New York Times reported Friday.

In an article posted on its website, the newspaper said that Stephanie McIlvain — who served as Armstrong’s liaison to sunglasses maker and sponsor Oakley — is expected to be asked if she knows anything about whether Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs.

The newspaper cited “a person briefed on the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity.”

Armstrong has vehemently denied doping in a career that included seven Tour de France triumphs.

McIlvain testified about Armstrong in a 2005 civil lawsuit in which insurance company SCA Promotions sought to withhold a $5 million bonus from Armstrong after he won his sixth Tour because of doping allegations against him.

That case was settled in Armstrong’s favor. Sources near the case said the settlement was reached after the court indicated that the SCA contract contained no provision to negate the payment, even if cheating had occurred.

In that case, McIlvain was questioned about a time in 1996 when she and others close to Armstrong were visiting him in a hospital during his battle with testicular cancer.

McIlvain testified during depositions in that civil case that she did not hear Armstrong admit to drug use, contradicting accounts given by other witnesses.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. authorities had already obtained an audio recording of a 2004 conversation between three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and McIlvain in which they discussed Armstrong.

Armstrong became a focus of attention to U.S. authorities after his former teammate Floyd Landis admitted he had doped and alleged that Armstrong and others on his team used banned drugs.

Landis won the Tour in 2006 but was stripped of his title for doping. After years of denial, he admitted earlier this year that he cheated.

A grand jury in Los Angeles is reported to be hearing testimony as authorities seek to determine whether Armstrong and his associates committed any crime such as fraud.

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