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Armstrong drops defamation lawsuits in France

PARIS -- Lance Armstrong dropped defamation lawsuits in
France after winning three legal battles elsewhere over doping
accusations.

Donald Manasse and Christian Charriere-Bournazel, Armstrong's lawyers in France, said Thursday the seven-time Tour de France champion had instructed them to "dismiss all pending actions."

That means a trial set to start in October against the authors of the book "LA Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong" will not proceed. The book accused Armstrong of using banned substances, a claim he has always denied.

"I think we're 10-0 in lawsuits right now," Armstrong said
Thursday. "My life is not about that anymore. I've answered all
the questions."

Armstrong recently settled a libel case against Britain's Sunday
Times newspaper over a June 2004 article that referred to the book,
written by Pierre Ballester and David Walsh. The settlement
followed a pretrial ruling by a High Court judge in Armstrong's
favor. Two other recent rulings also vindicated Armstrong.

"Mr. Armstrong considers that his honor and reputation have
been re-established for all people who examine the facts in good
faith, and that no further purpose is served now in pursuing other
actions in defamation," the lawyers' statement said.

Armstrong was hounded by allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his record Tour wins from 1999-05. He is now retired from cycling.

He recently sued to recover a $5 million bonus for winning in
2004. The insurance company under contract to pay the bonus had
withheld it because of accusations that Armstrong had taken drugs.
An arbitration panel awarded Armstrong $7.5 million.

A May 31 report by Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman, acting for the International Cycling Union, also cleared Armstrong's name. The
governing body appointed Vrijman in October to investigate the
handling of urine samples from the 1999 Tour by a French lab.

The investigation followed a report by the French sports daily
L'Equipe that six of Armstrong's urine samples tested positive for
the endurance-booster EPO. There was no reliable test for EPO in
1999, but urine samples were preserved and analyzed later when the
technology was available.

"Mr. Armstrong has now been vindicated on three different
occasions in three different countries by independent, impartial
judges, arbitrators and investigators," the lawyers' statement
added.