ROME, Dec 13, 2013 (AFP) – Retired Italian rider Roberto Gaggioli told
Friday’s edition of the Corriere della Sera that Lance Armstrong paid him
$100,000 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 $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
“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.