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  Monday, 23 July, 2001, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Armstrong defends drug-trial doctor
Lance Armstrong
Armstrong will continue working with Michele Ferrari
Tour de France leader Lance Armstrong has vigorously defended his relationship with an Italian doctor facing two doping-related charges in an Italian court.

Armstrong revealed earlier in the Tour that he had been working with Michele Ferrari on an occasional basis, with a view to an attack on the world hour record.

Ferrari goes on trial in Bologna on 21 September charged with the administration of products dangerous to health and sporting fraud.

But Armstrong insists he will only stop working with Ferrari if the Italian is convicted of an doping offence.


Has Lance Armstrong ever tested positive? No
Lance Armstrong

"I'm confident in the relationship," said Armstrong. "I've never denied the relationship.

"I believe he's an honest man, I believe he's a fair man and I believe he's an innocent man. I've never seen anything to lead me to believe otherwise."

However, the American did concede his relationship with Ferrari might be regarded as questionable.

"People are not stupid," said Armstrong. "People will look at the facts. They will say, okay, here's Lance Armstrong, here's the relationship. Is that questionable? Perhaps.

"But people are smart. They say has Lance Armstrong ever tested positive? No. Has Lance Armstrong been tested? A lot.

Investigation

"Was Lance Armstrong's team put under investigation and their urine from the 2000 Tour de France, where there was no EPO control, was it tested for EPO? Yes it was.

"Was it clean? Absolutely. Did he declare cortisone in any of his drug controls in the Tour de France? No, he did not.

"Now, that brings us to 2001. Is there an EPO test? Absolutely. Will he pass every test because he does not take EPO? Yes, he will.

"Did he declare cortisone? Did he use cortisone in the 2001 Tour de France? No, he did not. I think the people believe in that."

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