PIC BY TIM DE WAELE
Lance Armstrong has rubbished what he calls the "baseless attack" launched by authors David Walsh and Pierre Ballester in their latest book, LA Officiel, which hit French bookstores on Thursday.
Walsh and Ballester's 236-page expos is a follow-up to LA Confidentiel, whose release before the 2004 Tour sparked controversy and a barrage of libel suits brought by Armstrong.
The seven-time Tour champion said of the book, which focuses on Armstrong's legal battle with Texas-based insurance company SCA, "this latest attack will be no different than the first - a sensationalized attempt to cash in on my name and sully my reputation by people who have demonstrated a consistent failure to adhere to the most basic journalistic standards or ethics".
The statement continued:"The 'sequel' will once again be published only in France to hide from legal accountability. The allegations and sources in the second book are just as baseless, unreliable and manufactured as they were in the first book. The first book was so unreliable and baseless that it was available only in France and rejected by all twenty-plus English language publishers to whom the book was pitched. Continuing a pattern of distortion and fabrication started in the first book, the new book takes cherry-picked allegations and testimony from the losing side of a court case [against SCA - Ed] I won and attempts to portray them as facts.
"I responded in court to these allegations, most of which are made by a handful of grudge holders, axe grinders, and a so-called "expert" whose graduate degree turned out to be by way of correspondence courses -- and I proved them false. I was awarded 7.5 million dollars in actual and punitive damages by a professional panel of legal experts who received all the evidence and heard from all the 'eyewitnesses'. Every allegation and witness was confronted thoroughly, lawfully and fairly. I was vindicated yet again. I raced clean. I won clean. I am the most tested athlete in the history of sports. I have defended myself and won every court case to prove I was clean. Yet another French book with baseless, sensational and rejected allegations will not overcome the truth".