Now that Lance Armstrong has been humbled and faced a defamation lawsuit or three, it's pretty much open season on the disgraced cyclist. Every allegation with even the slightest credibility can be brought without fear of retribution, and they very well might be true—Armstrong's got more than a decade of dirt ripe for the digging. The latest one is a good one.
Next week sees the release of Wheelmen, a book from Wall Street Journal reporters Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell. You can read an excerpt here. Or you can do like everyone else and seize on the juiciest item, pulled out today by the Daily News. It claims that in 2004, Armstrong's then-girlfriend Sheryl Crow flew with him to Belgium and witnessed him receiving an illegal blood transfusion.
"Rather than try to hide the transfusion from her, Armstrong was completely open about it. He trusted that Crow would have no desire to tell the press or anyone else about the team's doping program. He explained that it was simply part of the sport - that all cyclists were doing the same thing."
The couple broke up in 2006, but in 2011 Crow was contacted by investigators as a grand jury considered a federal indictment against Armstrong. It was reported last year that Crow was subpoenaed to testify, but Wheelmen claims that head witchhunter Jeff Novitzky gave her a proffer agreement—a written agreement protecting Crow from prosecution if she would share what she knew about Armstrong.
She reportedly told them everything she saw, but information obtained in a proffer session can't be used directly against an investigation's target. It can be used to direct follow-up investigations, but a few weeks after Crow' and Novitsky's meeting, the grand jury dropped the case against Armstrong.