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Armstrong hires criminal defense attorney

NEW YORK – Lance Armstrong said hiring a criminal defense lawyer in the face of a federal investigation for possible fraud and doping violations is merely a matter of protecting himself.

“Obviously, you need some legal counsel on this. … I wouldn’t read anything into it,” the seven-time Tour de France champion said after finishing 17th in the 17th stage of this year’s race. “I’m 100 percent confident that there will be a satisfactory resolution for me.”

The Texan hired Bryan D. Daly, a former federal prosecutor based in Los Angeles who is a partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton.

The investigation was spurred by accusations from Floyd Landis, Armstrong’s former teammate on the U.S. Postal team, in a series of e-mails sent to cycling and doping officials this spring.

Armstrong has denied the allegations and questioned Landis’ credibility. Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour title for doping.