Lab told Feds of Suspicious Lance Armstrong Doping Test

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06/3/2011| 0 comments
by AP

Lab told Feds of Suspicious Lance Armstrong Doping Test

The director of the Swiss anti-doping laboratory informed federal authorities last fall that Lance Armstrong's test results from the 2001 Tour de Suisse were "suspicious" and "consistent with EPO use."

The director of the Swiss anti-doping laboratory informed federal authorities last fall that Lance Armstrong's test results from the 2001 Tour de Suisse were "suspicious" and "consistent with EPO use," AP has learned.

Martial Saugy made the statement in September, according to a person familiar with the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

The revelation came to light Wednesday as attorneys for Armstrong demanded an on-air apology from CBS' "60 Minutes" after Saugy told a Swiss newspaper that the lab found suspicious levels of EPO, a blood-boosting drug, in four urine samples from the race Armstrong won. But Saugy said he didn't know if any belonged to the seven-time Tour de France winner.

That was contrary to what he said in his statement made to officials from the FBI, the Food and Drug Administration and anti-doping authorities, the person familiar with the investigation told AP. Though Saugy was not under oath, there are potential legal ramifications for lying to authorities working on a federal probe.

"60 Minutes" first reported that Saugy told U.S. officials and the FBI that there was a "suspicious" test result from the 2001 Tour de Suisse. "This was confirmed by a number of international officials who have linked the 'suspicious' test to Armstrong," CBS News Chairman and "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager said in a statement.

In a letter sent to Fager, lawyer Elliot Peters said the May 22 segment about Armstrong was built on a series of falsehoods, and he accused the reputable CBS show of sloppy journalism.

"In the cold light of morning your story was either extraordinarily shoddy, to the point of being reckless and unprofessional, or a vicious hit-and-run job," Peters wrote. "In either case, a categorical on-air apology is required."

Fager said the network stood by its story.

"60 Minutes" also reported there was a meeting between Saugy, Armstrong and the manager of his U.S. Postal team, Johan Bruyneel. On Wednesday, the person familiar with the investigation told AP that Saugy confirmed to officials investigating doping in cycling that, after learning of the test results, he met with Armstrong and Bruyneel, at the direction of the International Cycling Union.

David Howman, director general of the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency, confirmed to AP that Saugy had talked to him about suspicious results from the 2001 Tour de Suisse and an ensuing meeting set up by UCI that included people Saugy "didn't anticipate" would be there.

Armstrong attorney Mark Fabiani criticized AP's reporting saying:

"In an investigation characterized by unlawful leaks, it is amazing how quickly the leaker responded to today's '60 Minutes' letter, by reaching out to AP in Los Angeles, and leaking some more. It is time for the press to stop giving comfort to this lawless form of character assassination and name names. Who is leaking this information? Whoever is doing so is committing a crime and should be investigated for it."

Saugy didn't respond to an email asking for comment.

Federal officials are now in their second year

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