I have been wondering how Armstrong would weasles out of the Giro d'Italia. Easy: blame a little guy with the help of a big guy. Here't the story from cyclingnews.com:
Verbruggen: Simeoni stopping Armstrong riding Giro
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
UCI president Hein Verbruggen has said that Lance Armstrong is not riding this year's Giro d'Italia because of the dispute between him and Filippo Simeoni. In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Verbruggen said, "Without the Simeoni affair, [Armstrong] certainly would have come to the Giro, he had promised me."
Verbruggen added that Armstrong's actions during the 18th stage of the 2004 Tour de France, where he followed Simeoni up to a breakaway and effectively killed the Italian's chances of getting clear, "did not deserve a penalty." A judicial investigation was opened in Italy after the incident, trying to determine whether Armstrong had threatened Simeoni, and whether he could be charged with sporting fraud, violence and intimidation of a witness. Thus, Armstrong could be questioned by police if he sets foot in Italy.
Armstrong and Simeoni are involved in another legal battle arising from Simeoni's testimony in the Dr. Ferrari trial, where Simeoni claimed that Dr. Ferrari had instructed him on taking doping products. Armstrong called Simeoni a "liar" after this, and Simeoni is now suing Armstrong for libel.
Just amazing! Lance's treatment of Simeoni stank last summer, and now Lance uses his bullying of a little guy as an excuse to stay out of a country that's tough on doping. It's amazing what you can get away with when you have the head of the UCI and the president of the USA on your buddy list. Not wanting to set foot in Italy reminds me of Raimundas Rumsas (remember him?) avoiding going back to France. Is Armstrong just chicken or does he have something to hide?