Lance Armstrong Paid Me to Throw a Race, Says Rival
Roberto Gaggioli recalls 1993 alleged incident
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2013 12:34 PM CST
In this July 11, 2009 file photo, Lance Armstrong, left, and Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy, climb towards Col de Port, France, during the 8th stage of the Tour de France cycling race.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

(Newser) – An Italian cyclist says a young Lance Armstrong paid him $100,000 to throw a 1993 race for which the top prize was $1 million. "He offered me a panettone [cake] as a present and wished me a Merry Christmas. In the box there were $100,000 in small bills," Roberto Gaggioli told an Italian paper, according to the New York Post. "Lance said that my team, Coors Light, had agreed to it. I understood that it had all been decided."

"Two laps from the end, I was in a breakaway with Lance, Bobby Julich, and some Italian riders from the Mercatone team," Gaggioli continues. But Armstrong gave a sign and Gaggioli started pedaling slower; Armstrong, then 22, won the race, the final one in an event known as the Million Dollar Race or the Thrift Drug Triple Crown. He had already won the first two, so he took the million-dollar prize for winning all three, then went on to his string of Tour de France victories.