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Lance Armstrong's lawyers demand apology from '60 Minutes'

June 1, 2011 |  8:51 am


Lance Armstrong's lawyers aren't sure whether a "60 Minutes" report linking their client to a positive doping test was "extraordinarily shoddy" or just plain "vicious."

Either way, they want an on-air apology from the TV news program and have demanded one in a letter sent Wednesday to CBS News Chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager.

“In the cold light of morning your story was either extraordinarily shoddy, to the point of being reckless and unprofessional, or a vicious hit-and-run job,” lawyer Elliot Peters wrote. “In either case, a categorical on-air apology is required.”

Peters added that the show ignored evidence from Armstrong's camp prior to the broadcast that the Swiss-related claims were false.

“What is particularly disturbing is that '60 Minutes' had access to the true facts, could easily have verified them, and apparently chose instead to broadcast untruths and then layer innuendo on top of the falsehoods,” Peters said.

CBS News spokesman Kevin Tedesco said Wednesday he was unable comment on the letter, but added about the "60 Minutes" report: “We consider this the most thorough investigation into doping in the sport of cycling ever done.”

In the May 22 report, former teammate Tyler Hamilton said Armstrong claimed he used the banned substance EPO in preparation for the 2001 Tour de France and that the International Cycling Union helped him hide a positive test from the Tour de Suisse earlier that year.

But last week Martial Saugy, head of Switzerland's anti-doping laboratory, denied allegations that Armstrong had failed a doping test during the 2001 Tour de Suisse. He added that his lab did find suspicious levels of EPO in four urine samples from the race, but he didn't know if any of them belonged to Armstrong.

Saugy also denied that UCI officials brokered a meeting between Armstrong and his lab, as reported by "60 Minutes." He did meet with Armstrong and then-U.S. Postal Service team manager Johan Bruyneel, but it had nothing to do with suspicious test results.


Poll: Do you think Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs?

Failed drug test or not, looks like Alberto Contador can ride Tour de France

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Lance Armstrong. Credit: Christophe Ena / Associated Press