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Lance Armstrong dodges court on driving charges - by pleading guilty by mail

No courtroom drama this time

Disgraced former pro cyclist Lance Armstrong has pleaded guilty to careless driving and been fined $150 after an incident in which he drove into two other cars in a car park in the ritzy ski resort of Aspen Colorado, and his girlfriend Anna Hansen initially tried to take the blame.

The Aspen Daily News's Chad Abraham reports that Armstrong mailed a cheque for $238.50 to cover the fine and costs to the 9th Judicial District court, avoiding a court appearance.

He had been charged with failing to report an accident and driving too fast for conditions, but those charges were dropped in a plea deal.

Hansen originally told police she had been driving at the time of the crashes on December 28 last year.

But Aspen police detective Rick Magnuson investigated her account of the aftermath of a party at Aspen Art Museum and found it didn't add up.

A valet company employee who had worked at the event told Magnuson he recognised Armstrong and Hansen. Magnuson wrote in the police report: “He told me that he assisted Hansen to the passenger side of the GMC, and Armstrong entered the driver’s side and drove away from the St. Regis.”

Magnuson interviewed Hansen again and she confessed she had lied.

“I asked Hansen if Armstrong asked her to take the blame for the accident once they got home,” Magnuson wrote. “She replied, ‘No, that was a joint decision, and, um, you know we’ve had our family name smeared over every paper in the world in the last couple of years and honestly, I’ve got teenagers, I just wanted to protect my family because I thought, ‘Gosh, Anna Hansen hit some cars, it’s not going to show up in the papers, but Lance Armstrong hit some cars, it’s going to be a national story.’”

Hansen had also claimed that she was behind the wheel when the SUV skidded on snow because Armstrong had been drinking. She withdrew that claim, saying "He was not intoxicated."

Because she confessed, prosecutors decided not to bring charges against Hansen for making a false report.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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