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Armstrong, cycling's doping ghosts haunt Tour de France

  • David Zabriskie of the US, front left, an Levi Leipheimer of the US, right, ride in the pack during the fifth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 196.5 kilometers (122 miles) with start in Rouen and finish in Saint-Quentin, France, Thursday July 5, 2012. Leipheimer and Zabriskie are two of five former teammates of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong who, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, have struck a deal with the US anti doping agency USADA to admit to using doping and to give evidence against Armstrong in exchange for what is considered a light punishment, a 6-month ban on professional cycling. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

SAINT-QUENTIN, France — The Tour de France is shadowed again by Lance Armstrong and doping.

The subject returned with a vengeance to cycling's greatest race Thursday, and caught in the turmoil were four riders and a team manager who years ago helped Armstrong on the way to his seven Tour titles.

All this on a day when Germany's Andre Greipel won the fifth stage — his second in a row — in a sprint after the 122-mile trek from Rouen to Saint-Quentin, north of Paris. Fabian Cancellara kept the race lead for a sixth straight day.

The ride got off to a bumpy start after a Dutch newspaper reported the former Armstrong teammates cut a deal with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for their testimony in a doping case against him.

Daily De Telegraaf, citing "well-informed sources," said USADA had given six-month bans to Jonathan Vaughters, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde.


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