Thursday, July 15, 2010 ∫ THE ALPENA NEWS ∫ 3B
Armstrong warns against doping ‘witch hunt’ CHAMBERY, France (AP) — Lance Armstrong said Wednesday he will cooperate with a “fair investigation” but not a “witch hunt” into allegations that he and his former cycling team were involved in doping. Armstrong was responding to reports of a federal investigation of possible fraud and doping charges against him and former associates. He spoke before the 10th stage of the Tour de France, where he is 31st overall. The New York Times reported that authorities have issued grand jury subpoenas to witnesses as part of the probe into allegations made by American cyclist Floyd Landis. Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour title for doping, said the use of banned substances was common on the US Postal team when he rode with Armstrong. “Like I said, as long as we have a legitimate and credible and fair investigation, we’ll be happy to cooperate, but I’m not going to participate in any kind of witch hunt,” the seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor said. “I’ve done too many good things for too many people.” Armstrong said he had not been subpoenaed or contacted by lead investigator Jeff Novitzky. He said he wasn’t aware of any riders who have been subpoenaed. Armstrong said stories are being leaked to the media as part of an “agenda” against
Lance Armstrong, right, climbs with the pack during the 10th stage of the Tour de France cycling race Wednesday.
him and questioned the need for a federal probe. “Would the American people feel like this is a good use of their tax dollars?” he said. “That’s for them to decide.” Armstrong has said that Landis, who re-
British, Continued from 1B
thick brogue. “What’s there to enjoy?” Perry replied. Worse yet was leaving the 17th tee with Nick Watney, rain pelting them sideways and the sound of laughter above them. There was Ian Poulter, dressed in shorts and a shirt, taking pictures of them from the comfort of his third-floor room in the Old Course Hotel. “Having fun down there, boys?” Poulter called out to them. The fun doesn’t begin until Thursday, when the 139th version of golf’s oldest championship gets under way at St. Andrews, with weather that likely will as much of a factor as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or any of the players. And it’s about time. The last time the Open came to St. Andrews, there was only one round of a stiff breeze and Woods won by five shots at 14under 274. Ten years ago on a sun-baked links, Woods set a major championship record at 19-under 269 for an eight-shot win in perfect weather. But there was nasty weather in 1995, when John Daly finished at 6-under 282 and won a playoff. The Royal and Ancient, which runs this tournament, doesn’t get wrapped up in scores. It lets nature decide that. “The forecast for the championship is changeable — blustery, showery conditions,” R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, barely able to contain a grin. “Pretty good for links golf.” This is what Woods will face as he tries to make more history at the home of golf. No one has ever won the Open three times at St. Andrews, and this stage could be an important test for golf’s No. 1 player. Woods has never gone this far into the calendar without winning. He has never gone more than seven tournaments to start a season without a victory, and the Open marks his seventh event. His preparations included playing Sunday in gusts that approached 50 mph, and the next two days in wind out of different directions. He also endured a press conference in which about half of the questions were about his personal life. Among his chief critics has been Watson, who has said that Woods needs to “clean up his act.” Given a chance to elaborate Wednesday, the five-time Open champion declined. “I said what I needed to say about Tiger Woods,” Watson said. “The one thing that you should be writing about Tiger Woods right now is that he’s won the championship the last two times he’s played here, and that he’s probably the odds-on favorite to win it again.” The challenge figures to be much greater, a result of Woods’ unpredictable form, the growing number of contenders — especially a European resurgence led by U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood — and the weather. Defending champion Stewart Cink played eight holes Wednesday on what felt like two courses. “The opening nine, you’re headed straight downwind with a little off to the right, and it’s like a dream,” he said. Every shot you hit, no matter how bad you hit it, it’s a nice draw. We played four holes and decided to turn around, and as soon as we hit 14 tee box, it was the exact opposite. You couldn’t do anything except his a huge slice. It’s hard to describe how difficult it is.” The only disappointment Wednesday was the hard rain and cold wind leading the R&A to cancel its “Champions Challenge,” a four-hole exhibition with past Open champions like Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Ben Curtis. “I was on the range this morning and it’s just brutal out there,” Nick Faldo said. “It wouldn’t have been entertaining for anybody.” It wasn’t much fun for the marshals or the fans, wrapped in rain gear, walking back from the loop on the far end of the links toward the clubhouse as they searched for players, realizing most of them were doubling back after a couple of holes. There wasn’t much to gain on a day like this. “Obviously, we’ve had beautiful weather for two days,” Cink said. “And today, we have a wreck out there. And there’s not many golfers at all. But it’s a fair test.” The forecast? There could be rain, there might be spells of sunshine, there likely will be wind — that could be last four days or four hours around these parts. Rose is the freshest face of the English revival, having won two of his last three tournaments in America. He knows these links well, even though he didn’t qualify for the Open in 2000 or 2005. Rose already had in his mind the ideal day, which featured wind. “It would be nice and sunny, 20 mph breeze across the golf course. I think that would have tested everybody but made it very, very enjoyable,” Rose said. “If we get a little bit of that, it would be nice. And if we get a little bit of the extreme stuff, then so be it. That’s definitely part of the Open Championship.”
cently admitted to doping after years of denials, cannot be believed. He also said he didn’t believe that other riders had come forward with similar allegations. “I don’t think the government will build a case on Floyd Landis,” said Armstrong,
Area Sports Briefs
The Alpena Jets Football free football camp is being held on Monday and Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the junior high practice field. Final football sign up also will be held. Practice for the football season begins on Aug. 2. Have a copy of your child’s birth certificate and physical card to the coach on the first day of practice. Any questions call Nancy 884-1119. ——— River’s Edge Golf Club is hosting the Northeast Michigan Junior Golf Open on July 20. There are nine divisions, with trophies for the top three places. Cost is $10 or $15 for a non-River’s Edge Junior member. Pizza and beverage at the 1 p.m. awards ceremony is included in the cost. Call 354-4312 to register. ——— There is a volleyball camp for fifth through eighth graders Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-noon at Alpena High School. Players may register Monday before the camp starts. ——— The Thunder Bay Wrecks travel hockey teams are holding a bottle drive on Saturday in the parking lot across from
MLB, Continued from 1B
St. Louis at the break. KEY INJURIES: They always play a big part in who makes it in and who falls short in the playoff race. This year, several teams have been ravaged, including: ∫ Boston Red Sox: RHP Clay Buchholz, C Victor Martinez, 2B Dustin Pedroia (fractured left foot), OF Jacoby Ellsbury (broken ribs), C Jason Varitek (fractured right foot), 3B Mike Lowell (right hip) and RHP Josh Beckett (back) have all missed significant time. Yet the Red Sox still only trail the Yankees by 5 games in the AL East. ∫ Philadelphia Phillies: The two-time defending NL champs, and the 2008 World Series champs, are off to a slower start this year after injuries to 2B Chase Utley (right thumb), LHP J.A. Happ (left forearm) and 3B Placido Polanco (left elbow). Utley isn’t expected back anytime soon and key relievers Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin
have also been hurt. ∫ New York Mets: SS Jose Reyes aggravated his sore right side and missed the All-Star game, but CF Carlos Beltran is set to make his season debut Thursday after right knee surgery. ∫ Minnesota Twins: 1B Justin Morneau (concussion) has been out a week, SS J.J. Hardy and 2B Orlando Hudson have made trips to DL and C Joe Mauer’s shoulder is hurting for the stumbling Twins, who have fallen to third place in the AL Central. YOUNG GUNS: It’s not just the year of the pitcher, it’s the year of the young pitcher. “It seemed like 15 years ago, it was a time of young shortstops, and other times, it seems there’s an influx of great, young talent in outfielders,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “But right now the influx of young pitching in baseball is incredible, and not just guys with stuff; guys that know
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how to pitch in tough division series at a young age.” Can these young guns hold up through hot pennant races? ∫ Tampa Bay Rays: David Price (24) started the All-Star game and Matt Garza (26) was the MVP of the ALCS two years ago. James Shields (28), Jeff Niemann (27) and Wade Davis (24) give the secondplace Rays a battle-tested young staff. ∫ Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Rockies: The 26year-old Dominican is chasing history at 15-1 at the break, and he has the Rock-
ies two games back of San Diego in second place in the NL West. ∫ Cincinnati Reds: RHPs Johnny Cueto (24) and Mike Leake (22) were a combined 14-3 at the break, and LHP Travis Wood (23) nearly tossed a perfect game last Saturday against Philadelphia. ∫ Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals: The Nationals may be out of it, but it’s going to be great fun watching how MLB’s newest rock star responds to all the attention that has turned each of the rookie’s starts into an event.
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the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary on Fletcher Steet from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Squirt, Pee Wee and Bantam team members, parents and coaches will be in the neighborhoods collecting bottles and cans to help defray costs for the upcoming season. ——— The Alpena Wildcat Football Camp is scheduled for July 27-29 at Alpena High School for ninth through 12th graders. The camp runs from 6-8 p.m. each day and costs $20. The focus of the camp is on learning individual offensive and defensive techniques. Campers also will be involved in 7-on-7 passing drills. Call Jason Dubey at 354-9464 with any questions. ——— MediLodge of Hillman is hosting its fifth annual golf scramble on Sunday to be held at the Thunder Bay Golf Resort to support our Memory Care Community. This event is a four-person scramble with an 11 a.m. shotgun start. Cost is $65 per person or $260 per team. This includes 18 holes of golf with cart, games, gifts, door prizes and a cookout following the outing. To register, call John, the golf pro at Thunder Bay Golf Resort Pro Shop in Hillman, at 742-4875. Registration is open until Saturday.
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who has never tested positive for use of banned substances. “His credibility left a long time ago.” Armstrong said the allegations should be investigated by the international cycling body, UCI, or the World Anti-Doping Agency. “If you think that you have an athlete that’s broken the rules — this is not baseball, this is not football ... we have a governing body to deal with that,” he said. “I have had 500 (doping) controls in my day. USADA deals with that, the UCI deals with that. WADA deals with that. We have an agency to deal with that. I have no problem playing by those rules.” Armstrong repeatedly has denied any involvement in doping and reiterated that position again Wednesday. “As long as I live I will deny that,” he said. “There is absolutely no way I forced people, encouraged people, told people, helped people, facilitated ... Absolutely not. 100 percent.” Armstrong also denied that he was ever a part owner of the Postal Service team, which was owned by Tailwind Sports. “I was a rider on the team, I was contracted with Tailwind Sports, I never had any dealings — ANY — with the Postal Service — zero,” he said. “I didn’t own the company. I didn’t have an equity stake. I didn’t have a profit stake, I didn’t have a seat on the board. I can’t be any clearer than that.”
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