A former staff member on Lance Armstrong's team said in a new book that the cycling great asked her to dispose of used syringes and lend him makeup to conceal needle marks on his arms.

Armstrong disputed the claims made in the French-language book, "L.A. Confidential, the Secrets of Lance Armstrong" by author David Walsh.

And a spokesman for Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team, Jogi Muller, said Walsh was seeking "personal revenge" against the cyclist.

The heart of the accusations come from Emma O'Reilly, who worked for several years as Armstrong's masseur, physical therapist and personal assistant. A USPS team spokesman confirmed O'Reilly "was a past employee" but declined to comment further.

The book claims Armstrong asked O'Reilly to dispose of a black bag containing used syringes after the Tour of the Netherlands in 1998. O'Reilly said she did not know what was in the syringes, according to the book.

Armstrong has said that he never failed a drug test.

Excerpts of the book were published in France's L'Express magazine yesterday, a few weeks before Armstrong begins his bid to win a record sixth straight Tour de France next month.

In a statement, his legal team said they plan to "immediately institute libel proceedings." Armstrong's lawyer, Bill Stapleton, didn't return messages seeking additional comment.

* OBITUARIES: Ralph Wiley, a sports journalist for more than 20 years who most recently worked as a columnist for ESPN.com and who coined the original phrase "Billy Ball," died of heart failure Sunday evening at his Orlando home. He was 52. Wiley earlier was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated and also wrote several books.

* SWIMMING: Michael Phelps had a solid warmup for next month's Olympic trials. Swimming at his home pool in Baltimore, Phelps won the 200-meter butterfly, one of his best events, in 1 minute 56.04 seconds at the Mortgage Long Course Championships. It is the fastest time recorded in the event this year and two seconds off the world record, which Phelps owns.

* WNBA: Lisa Leslie (15 points) made a game-saving block at the end of regulation in Los Angeles and scored five points in overtime to lift the Sparks to a 76-74 victory over the Connecticut Sun.

* COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Cincinnati assistant Dan Peters was named the interim basketball coach with Bob Huggins suspended following an arrest for drunk driving.

-- From News Services