(NaturalNews) The legend that was cyclist Lance Armstrong continues to unravel, as new information from a whistleblower reveals a deeper level of deception than was previously known.
A report in the New York Post says that a retired Italian cyclist, Roberto Gaggioli, is claiming that Armstrong paid him a $100,000 bribe in a cake box to let him win a 1993 race in the U.S. that had a $1 million purse.
"It was a young American colleague," Gaggioli told the Corriere della Sera, according to a translation. "He offered me a panettone [a traditional Italian Christmas 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," Gaggioli continued, according to the translation.
'Two laps from the end, I was in a breakaway with Lance...'
From the Post:
The fixed-up win was crucial to a 22-year-old Armstrong - before he became a celebrated cancer survivor, Tour de France champion and humiliated ringleader of a performance-enhancing drug conspiracy - ultimately locking up the seven-figure prize.
And here's a bit of irony for you. The million-dollar race was known as the Thrift Drug Triple Crown, which comprised races in Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Philadelphia.
The Italian cyclist says Armstrong made his pastry payment before the final leg of the race in Philadelphia. If Armstrong was able to complete a sweep of the three legs, he would win the million dollars and become the U.S. champion. If Gaggioli or anyone else won, they would only claim a $25,000 prize.
"Two laps from the end, I was in a breakaway with Lance, Bobby Julich and some Italian riders from the Mercatone team," said Gaggioli, who appeared to simply fade into the pack in the following video after Armstrong breaks away [http://www.youtube.com].
"When Lance made a sign, I turned away as if not to see that he had escaped. He broke away to win on his own," he said.
According to another rider, Roberto Pelliconi, other opponents who had been bought off were not as clear about the fee.
"Angelo Canzonieri [another rider] and Lance agreed on a fee of 50, Angelo thought he meant dollars but Lance meant lire. At the Tour of Lombardy he gave us 50 million [lire]," said Pelliconi.
The moment it all came tumbling down
Last year, the cycling empire that Armstrong built fell apart amid revelations of illegal doping and other shenanigans.
The charges were laid out in a 202-page report that accused him of being part of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."
The charges, all backed up with substantial evidence, put a huge red circle with a line through the center over Armstrong's seven Tour de France wins.
The evidence that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accumulated against the entire U.S. Postal Service-sponsored team to which Armstrong belonged involves "direct documentary evidence including financial payments, e-mails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance-enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong," said the report.
The allegations, which follow an Aug. 24 announcement from the USADA in which the agency "imposed a sanction of lifetime ineligibility and disqualification of competitive results" achieved by Armstrong since Aug. 1, 1998 - effectively stripping the cyclist of his titles - are backed up by a multitude of evidence, including 11 riders who the agency said came forward "to acknowledge their use of banned performance-enhancing drugs while on the team," CNN reported in October 2012.