Saturday, July 24, 2004
There was, though, a little bit of drama early in the stage. Filippo Simeoni, an undistinguished Italian rider, sprinted out of the peloton in an effort to join a group of six low ranked riders on a breakaway. Rather than letting Simeoni go, as good race tactics would dictate, Armstrong took off after him. When the two men reached the breakaway Armstrong explained that he would allow the group to remain in the lead only if Simeoni rejoined the peloton. Simeoni did, Armstrong backed off, and the breakaway group went on to build an eleven minute lead on the peloton.
Simeoni testified in an Italian court in 2002 that one of Armstrong's advisers, Dr. Michele Ferrari, furnished him with illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong, whose triumphs have been shadowed by doping allegations, subsequently called Simeoni a liar in a French newspaper interview in 2003. Simeoni then sued him in a case that is pending. |link|