France's National Anti-Doping Agency Offers to Retest Armstrong's '99 Samples

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10/1/2008| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen
Lance Armstrong.
Lance Armstrong.

France's National Anti-Doping Agency Offers to Retest Armstrong's '99 Samples

Earlier today the new head of the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) Pierre Bodry announced that the agency is offering to retest a number of urine samples collected from Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France.

This offer comes after Lance Armstrong late last month announced his comeback to pro cycling.

Both during and after his pro career as a cyclist, Lance Armstrong was accused of engaging in doping on several occasions. However, any wrongdoing has never been proven.

Earlier today the new head of the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) Pierre Bodry announced that the agency is offering to retest a number of urine samples collected from Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France.

This offer comes after Lance Armstrong late last month announced his comeback to pro cycling.

Both during and after his pro career as a cyclist, Lance Armstrong was accused of engaging in doping on several occasions. However, any wrongdoing has never been proven.

In 2005, French newspaper l'Equipe (owned by the same company that owns the Tour de France) in an article claimed that several urine urine samples collected from Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France contained traces of the illegal blood-boosting EPO drug. These accusations were strongly denied by Armstrong in 2005.

Only minutes ago Lance Armstrong issued the following official statement in response to Bodry's offer to retest his urine samples.

"Today, Mr. Pierre Bodry, the new head of the French anti-doping agency proposed that they retest samples from the 1999 Tour de France.  Unfortunately, Mr. Bodry is new to these issues and his proposal is based on a fundamental failure to understand the facts.  In 2005, some research was conducted on urine samples left over from the 1998 and 1999 Tour de France.  That research was the subject of an independent investigation, and the conclusions of the investigation were that the 1998 and 1999 Tour de France samples have not been maintained properly, have been compromised in many ways, and even three years ago could not be tested to provide any meaningful results.  There is simply nothing that I can agree to that would provide any relevant evidence about 1999.

In addition, the Independent Investigation concluded that the French laboratory, the French Ministry of Sport, and Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, all behaved improperly with respect to the 1999 Tour de France samples.  The Independent Investigation concluded that both Mr. Pound and the French laboratory engaged in improper conduct that violated a number of regulations and laws.  After the report of the Independent Investigator was issued, Mr. Pound's conduct was submitted to the IOC Ethics Commission and the IOC Ethics Commission censured Mr. Pound.

What the Report of the Independent Investigation did recommend, was that the issues of the conduct of Mr. Pound, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the French Ministry, and the French laboratory should be submitted to an independent tribunal, in particular the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Court for the entire Olympic movement, to address the issues and improper conduct identified by the Independent Investigator.  Two years ago I agreed to have all of these issues aired and decided by that tribunal, but WADA and the French Ministry refused. If Mr. Bodry would now like to re-examine the past, he must start with presenting the issues of the misconduct of the French laboratory, the French Ministry, and WADA before a proper tribunal.

To avoid any questions going forward and to avoid any distractions from my primary purpose to launch a global campaign against cancer,

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