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  Monday, 18 February, 2002, 17:13 GMT
Pantani launches Armstrong attack
Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani go wheel to wheel in the Tour de France
Armstrong and Pantani are rivals on and off the bike
Italian cyclist Marco Pantani has reopened his feud with Lance Armstrong by accusing him of exploiting his battle with cancer.

Pantani, winner of the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in 1998, was quoted as saying his American rival is "clever and he's making the most of his sickness".

He went on to say that that Armstrong is "nothing special" and is "not a great champion".

"I don't want to get into an argument, but for me Armstrong is nothing special," Pantani told the Spanish sports daily Marca.

Pantani, who has been the target of doping investigations in recent years, did offer that Armstrong is "a great rider".

Armstrong, 30, overcame testicular cancer to win the Tour de France the last three years.

Pantani and Armstrong have regularly exchanged insults in recent times.

On more than one occasion, Armstrong has referred to the Italian as "Elefantino" in reference to his large ears.

And Pantani was angry when Armstrong eased up to let him win a stage of the Tour two years ago.

See also:

31 Jan 02 | US Sport
30 Jul 01 | Other Sports
29 Jul 01 | Tour de France
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