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In Aspen restaurant, cyclists Armstrong and Hamilton clash

By Lynn Herrmann     Jun 15, 2011 in Sports
Aspen - Weeks after publicly accusing cycling legend Lance Armstrong of being part of a doping scandal, Tyler Hamilton and his lawyer have now accused Armstrong of "aggressive contact" in a weekend encounter at an Aspen restaurant, prompting further FBI action.
Chris Manderson, attorney for Hamilton, notified federal authorities on Monday of the weekend encounter at Cache Cache, an Aspen restaurant which Armstrong reportedly eats at three times per week. Armstrong has a home there and lives part-time in the Colorado resort town.
In the alleged confrontation at a bar area of the restaurant on Saturday night, Hamilton told his attorney Armstrong repeatedly asked how much he was paid for a “60 Minutes” interview last month in which the tainted former gold medal winner accused Armstrong of doping during their time as teammates on the US Postal Service cycling team.
Manderson said Armstrong told Hamilton his legal team would “tear you apart on the witness stand,” and make his life “a living (expletive) hell,” ESPN notes. Hamilton testified last year against Armstrong to a federal grand jury over the doping scandal.
Hamilton, 40, continues drawing attention to himself, with some suggesting the actions are designed as part of his efforts at obtaining a book deal. His life as a cyclist since winning gold at the 2004 Olympics has been an implosion, spectacular in nature.
The former gold medal winner has admitted to being involved in doping during his cycling career and last month, just before the International Olympic Committee considered stripping him of the gold medal, voluntarily surrendered it to the US Anti-Doping Agency, Digital Journal reported. The self-confessed doper has accused Armstrong of being a primary part of systematic doping while they were teammates.
Responding to Hamilton’s Dopegate allegations against Armstrong, the International Cycling Union (UCI) called it an “indignation.” In his ongoing attempt to smear Armstrong, Hamilton has accused the seven-time Tour de France winner of being part of a deal with the UCI to make a 2001 positive drug test “go away.” In a statement, the UCI said: “The allegations are completely unfounded. The UCI can only express its indignation at this latest attempt to damage the image of cycling by a cyclist who has not hesitated to abuse the trust of all followers of cycling on several occasions in the past.”
The Aspen incident has now drawn close scrutiny from the FBI, concerned Armstrong may now be involved in witness tampering, even though he has not been charged with any criminal misconduct.
Witness tampering would allow the federal investigation of Armstrong to move beyond any statue of limitations deadlines, extending such a timeline forward to present day.
Jodi Larner, co-owner of the Aspen restaurant, said the FBI has contacted her and will issue a subpoena for the restaurant’s surveillance tape. Although Manderson, Hamilton’s attorney, alleges Armstrong initiated “aggressive contact” against Hamilton on Saturday, Larner told the New York Times: “I wish I had the incident on tape, so the whole world could see what happened between Tyler and Lance and shut up about it already. It was a non-event.”
Larner said Armstrong never left his barstool during the brief exchange between the two former cyclists. She added the tape only covers the kitchen area, not the section where the two had their encounter, and doubts the tape will be of much help to the FBI.
After the exchange, Hamilton returned to his friends at a table in the restaurant where, allegedly, a waiter suggested they were no longer welcome. On his way out the door, Larner told him to never return because people at his table were rude to the staff. Hamilton told his attorney there was a “misunderstanding” over the bill, but was resolved before he and his party left.
Armstrong has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs and has never failed a drug test.
More about indignation, Incident, in aspen, Confront, 60 minutes
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