What exactly was going on between Simeoni and Armstrong? One says it was a 'sin', the other that hePICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE "I was protecting the interests of the peloton," Lance Armstrong said, when asked by French television why he chased down Filippo Simeoni, the Italian who tried to join what became the winning breakaway on stage 18 of the Tour de France. There's been no love lost between the two riders since Simeoni testified against Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari as part of an Italian drugs inquiry. Armstrong has worked, and continues to work, with Ferrari, and has accused Simeoni of being "an absolute liar". In response, Simeoni has instigated legal proceedings against Armstrong for defamation of character. "I don't know why a great champion like Armstrong is preoccupied with a small rider like me in a race as big as the Tour," Simeoni said for his part. "I tried to chase the front group, but it was impossible with Armstrong there." Some sources within the race convoy claimed that Armstrong told Simeoni: "Either you stop racing, or the breakaway gets caught." "He showed today in front of the whole world what kind of person he is. It's a sin," Simeoni said. "I didn't want to be the reason why the breakaway didn't succeed, so out of respect for my colleagues, I gave up the attack." Armstrong, however, suggested that many of the riders in the peloton were on his side. "Simeoni is not a rider that the peloton wants to see in the front group. All he does is attack cycling and say bad things about the riders and the group in general," said Armstrong. "When I came back to the peloton, I had a lot of people patting me on the back. They don't want somebody inside the sport destroying it. All he wants to do is to destroy cycling, and destroy the sport that pays him."