"An unsuspected feud between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani burst into public view Monday as the American leader of the Tour de France angrily criticized the star Italian climber.
Speaking at a news conference on the second of two days off in the race, Armstrong used a mocking nickname for Pantani, said he was disappointed in him and added that it was an error to have allowed the Italian to win a daily stage on Mont Ventoux last Thursday. Far ahead of their pursuers, the two neared the finish line there, and Armstrong slowed enough to let Pantani finish first."
"Armstrong went mano a mano with Pantani a few stages later on Mont Ventoux, where the Italian "won", but the bad vibes between Pantani and Armstrong started a feud that would light up the Alpine climbs. Pantani took the mountaintop stage finish in Courchevel, with Armstrong losing 50" and Ullrich a further 2'30" behind. On the rest day at Courchevel, Armstrong slammed Pantani at a press conference, who retaliated with a mad attack on the next day's 196km Stage 16 from Courchevel to Morzine. Pantani went on the Col de Saises and put Armstrong and his USPS teammates Hamilton and Livingston under a lot of pressure that day in a merry chase by Col des Aravis, Col de la Colombiere and Col de Joux-Plane. Pantani succeeded in cracking Armstrong, who struggled up the Joux-Plane, losing 2' to stage winner Virenque, but the Italian ended up abandoning the Tour and Armstrong kept his yellow jersey, 5'37" ahead of Ullrich."
"During the 2000 Tour, Pantani and Armstrong had engaged in a war of words following Pantani's stage victory at Mont Ventoux.
In an update on his official web site, Armstrong spoke of a meeting he had with the diminutive Italian.
"A few nights ago we sat down face-to-face and ironed out our differences. There is a lot of mutual respect and admiration there and so it was a good thing." The meeting went so well, in fact, Pantani said he would donate one of his pink leader's jerseys from the Giro d'Italia for a silent auction benefitting Armstrong's cancer foundation."
And yet more LA drama
This time against Livingston
"The rivalry lives but now it's only on the bike it's a sporting one only," Armstrong said. The frost on another piece of peloton drama Armstrong's grudge with former teammate and confidant, Kevin Livingston may be thawing. In an interview with German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine, Armstrong indicated that he understands the decision made by Livingston to join up with rival Jan Ullrich and Team Telekom following Livingston's fall-out with the now-defunct Linda McCartney squad.
Armstrong to France: 'You got nothing!'
TUCSON, Arizona, Jan 16 (AFP) ? Two-time Tour de France champion and cancer comeback "Miracle Man" Lance Armstrong ripped the French for drug accusations, saying "it's unfortunate that the biggest bike race in the world is in France."