Armstrong is innocent, says Indurain

PARIS Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:44am EDT

Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain of Spain waves after the 17th stage of the Tour of Spain ''La Vuelta'' cycling race in Penafiel, September 15, 2010. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal

Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain of Spain waves after the 17th stage of the Tour of Spain ''La Vuelta'' cycling race in Penafiel, September 15, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Miguel Vidal

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PARIS (Reuters) - Five times Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain believes Lance Armstrong is not guilty of doping despite the evidence produced by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the Spaniard said on Tuesday.

"Even now I believe in his innocence. He has always respected all the rules," Indurain, who won the Tour from 1991-95, was quoted as telling Radio Marca on their website (www.marca.com).

"I'm a bit surprised. It's a bit strange that this was only based on testimonies," he added in reference to USADA's 1,000-page report featuring testimonies from 11 former Armstrong team mates.

Armstrong, 41, was formally stripped of his seven Tour titles on Monday when the International Cycling Union (UCI) ratified USADA's decision to ban him for life and nullify his results since 1998.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Mark Meadows)

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