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Armstrong slams 'offensive' Pound

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PARIS, France -- Five-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has hit back at comments made by World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound suggesting doping was rife in cycling.

Armstrong sent an open letter to France's L-Equipe newspaper, Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport, Spain's Marca, the New York Times, Herald and Tribune and USA Today condemning Pound's comments.

"The way Mr Pound is pointing the finger of shame at us is offensive," said the American, currently riding in the Tour of Murcia.

"On behalf of myself and the professional cycling community, I am compelled to address statements made by Mr Pound.

"I am abashed and saddened by the fact that a person with such responsibilities can issue such long-range declarations that clearly mean that me or my colleagues are taking drugs."

Pound made the comments in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde last month.

Armstrong said Pound should focus on the fight against doping rather than lashing out at the sport.

"Mr Pound, if you truly want athletes to be clean, go fight for that rather than slinging dirt at them in such an irresponsible manner," said the 32-year-old.

"I ask you to focus your efforts on the fight against doping rather than spending your time accusing innocent athletes without any evidence other than your own speculation."

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