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By Agence France Presse
Filippo Simeoni was questioned by investigators from the Italian drug squad on Tuesday over an incident between him and six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong during the race last Friday.
The investigators grilled Simeoni for three hours about what happenedwhen Armstrongchased down an early attack by the Italian on the 18th stage of theTour last week.
In an unusual move for a race leader confronted with a rider who isno threat to his overall lead, Armstrong had chased after the Domina Vacanzeteam rider who had made a breakaway and the pair exchanged words beforeSimeoni later dropped back into the peloton, leaving his fellow escapeesto carry on in the lead.
Simeoni, 32, is a key witness in the trial of controversial Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari, with whom Armstrong has admitted working in the past. Earlier in the race Simeoni had confirmed his intention to take Armstrong to court for defamation.
Simeoni wants to sue the U.S. Postal leader over comments made in the French newspaper Le Monde in July 2003 in which Armstrong said Simeoni had “lied” when he gave evidence to investigators saying it was Ferrari who had showed him how to use the banned blood booster EPO effectively.
Ferrari has been quoted as saying that EPO was no more harmful for onethan a glass of orange juice.
Italian authorities are now considering whether to open legal proceedingsagainst Armstrong “for sporting fraud, violence and intimidation of a witness.”
Armstrong wins in Netherlands
Lance Armstrong fresh from winning a record sixth successive Tour de France won the Stiphout Criterium in Holland on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old American came home ahead of Australia’s Robbie McEwen, who won a second green jersey title in the Tour de France which finished on Sunday, while Marc Lotz of the Netherlands was third.
Ullrich not happy with Godefroot
T-Mobile’s Jan Ullrich said he has to speak with his team manager about comments questioning his commitment.
T-Mobile manager Walter Godefroot had criticized Ullrich, saying the 1997 Tour de France winner “cycled to live”, while six-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong “lives for cycling” after the German failed to gain a top-two finish at the Tour for the first time in his career.
“I cannot let that go,” Ullrich said late on Monday on a television talk show. “You should ask the people who I work with and not someone like Walter Godefroot who I speak to on the telephone twice a year — if at all.”
Ullrich said he was extremely angry about Godefroot’s comments but would try to talk to him at the HEW Cyclassics event in Hamburg next week.
“I will clear up what he said. If he says it to my face I will take the appropriate steps,” Ullrich said, without specifying what those might be.