Here's a new wrinkle to the ongoing Lance Armstrong fall from grace: an Italian cyclist is now claiming that Armstrong paid him $100,000 to throw a critical race in 1993.
Roberto Gaggioli, a cyclist for the Coors Light team, told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra that Armstrong handed him a cake box that had something a little more impressive than a cake inside.
“It was a young American colleague,” Gaggioli said, according to the New York Post. ”He offered me a panettone [Italian 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.”
The race in Philadelphia was the third of the Thrift Drug Triple Crown, and paid anyone who won all three races $1 million. Armstrong had won the first two races, in Pittsburgh and West Virginia, and was in position to win the third. As you can see at about the 15:30 mark of the race video, Gaggioli is running with Armstrong but fades in the stretch:
Another rider alleged that Armstrong bought off multiple cyclists. Certainly, these are merely uncorroborated allegations, but given the lengths that Armstrong would go to later in his career, they cannot be dismissed out of hand.
Armstrong would go on to win multiple Tours de France, only to see those and his many other honors stripped in the wake of a wide-ranging drug investigation and his confession of performance-enhancing drug use.