ROME - Retired Italian rider Roberto Gaggioli told Friday’s edition of the Corriere della Sera that Lance Armstrong paid him US$100,000 (S$125,760) in 1993 in order to win the Million Dollar Race in the United States.
“It was a young American colleague,” Gaggioli, who is now 51, was quoted as saying. “He offered me a panettone (a traditional Italian Christmas cake) as a present and wished me a merry Christmas. In the box there were US$100,000 in small bills. That colleague was Lance Armstrong.
“Lance said that my team, Coors Light, had agreed to it. I understood that it had all been decided,” added Gaggioli in reference to Armstrong’s win in the CoreStates race in Philadelphia which was crucial to him winning the one million dollar prize for the victor of three races held over 21 days.
The Million Dollar Race, which was known as the Thrift Drug Triple Crown, was comprised of the Pittsburgh Classic, the West Virginia Classic and the CoreStates race.
“Two laps from the end, I was in a breakaway with Lance, Bobby Julich and some Italian riders from the Mercatone team. When Lance made a sign, I turned away as if not to see that he had escaped. He broke away to win on his own.”
The newspaper added that other riders also failed to respond to Armstrong’s attack because they too had been bought, and cited one, Roberto Pelliconi, who said: “Angelo Canzonieri (another rider) and Lance agreed on a fee of 50, Angelo thought he meant dollars but Lance meant lire.
“At the Tour of Lombardy he gave us 50 million (lire).”
Armstrong, who was riding for Motorola at the time and is now 42, was officially stripped of his seven Tour de France wins in 2012 after being found guilty of a string of doping offences.
He publicly admitted that he had cheated earlier this year.