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."

of investigating doping in cycling. A Los Angeles-based grand jury is hearing evidence that could lead to charges of fraud, conspiracy and drug trafficking against Armstrong and his team.

Armstrong has denied doping, long invoking the fact that he has never tested positive.

A "suspicious" test "consistent with EPO use," is not a positive, though anti-doping authorities prefer to see the data from such a test.

AP has learned that on three occasions, Saugy told authorities about the Armstrong tests and had agreed to turn over the results to anti-doping officials. But he never produced them, which prompted the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to send him a letter in April asking for the evidence.

The letter was obtained by "60 Minutes," which also aired an interview with Tyler Hamilton, a former Armstrong teammate, who said the champion cyclist had told him that he had tested positive at the 2001 Tour de Swiss, but that it wouldn't be a problem because "people took care of it."

The Hamilton interview reasserted allegations made a year earlier by Floyd Landis, another former teammate of Armstrong's.

After the "60 Minutes" segment ran, Armstrong's camp launched a website that produced documents from the Swiss lab, which provided all of its positive tests from the race between 2001 and 2003. Armstrong's initials aren't next to any of the positives.

However, missing in that batch are the results from Armstrong's 2001 tests -- results that do, in fact, exist, according to the statement Saugy is said to have given federal authorities.

In his interview with the Swiss daily Neue Zurcher Zeitung last week, Saugy confirmed meeting with Armstrong and Bruyneel but not in connection with a suspicious test result.

Howman told "60 Minutes" for its broadcast and AP that any meeting between those parties would have been inappropriate.

"It was a unique situation and in those circumstances, it's not appropriate for athletes or an athlete's entourage to be meeting with lab operators," Howman said Wednesday. "Even if the meeting is as innocent as the day is long, the perception it gives to other athletes and members of the public is wrong, because the principle of anonymity is what we rely on with labs."

The UCI, in a statement issued shortly after the "60 Minutes" piece aired, said it "categorically rejects" Hamilton's allegations that it helped cover up a positive drug test by Armstrong.


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