Simeoni-Armstrong case reaches court

Filippo Simeoni's defamation case against Lance Armstrong finally reaches an Italian court, which is

Filippo Simeoni's defamation case against Lance Armstrong finally reaches an Italian court, which is


The case brought by Filippo Simeoni against Lance Armstrong following comments made by the American in French newspaper Le Monde in April 2003 finally reached and Italian court in Latina on Tuesday. Neither Simeoni, who is due to start Tirreno-Adriatico today, nor Armstrong was present, ensuring the jousting was left to their lawyers.

Armstrong's brief, Enrico Nan, asked the court to drop charges in the defamation suit because a foreigner should not be held responsible in Italy for comments made to a French newspaper "even if the internet can be read anywhere".

The judge hearing the case adjourned proceedings until April 13, when Simeoni is expected to appear in court.

In January, a court in Paris refused to hear a defamation suit brought by Simeoni against Armstrong for the same comments made in Le Monde, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired and that the Italian rider's lawyers had misinterpreted French law.

- The organisers of Amstel Gold have offered wild card entries to the, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Chocolade Jacques, Skil-Shimano and Barloworld for their race on April 16. The field will, of course, be completed by the 20 ProTour teams.

- CSC's Christian Vande Velde was forced to quit Paris-Nice on Tuesday after crashing into team-mate Michael Blaudzun 80 kilometres from the stage finish in Belleville. "It was just plain bad luck that Michael and Christian crashed into each other and it's too bad we have to do without Christian. He's having his left shoulder x-rayed this evening and hopefully he doesn't have any broken bones," said team boss Bjarne Riis. "Blaudzun fought hard to get through the stage. He suffered quite a lot of pains in his knee but did manage to complete, which is actually pretty impressive. We'll have a problem sticking to our plan with only six riders because the race will get tougher from tomorrow."

The news about Vande Velde came on the back of an injury setback suffered at last weekend's Three Days of West Flanders race by Matti Breschel. The young Dane crashed with Robbie McEwen in the bunch sprint on the final stage, and x-rays showed he has broken two vertebrae. "This means Matti won't be taking part in any of the spring Classics," said CSC DS Tristan Hoffman. "It's very unlucky because it was obvious that he was in great shape. The doctors estimate a period of at least three to four weeks before he's able to resume his training."

Milram's Mirko Celestino also faces some time off after he also crashed during the second stage at Paris-Nice, breaking his right shoulder blade.

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