Armstrong rejects French offer to retest urine samples

Lance Armstrong rejected the offer of the French anti-doping agency to retest his allegedly suspect urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France. He pointed out that in 2005 he had been cleared by cycling's governing body.


Lance Armstrong rejected an offer from a French anti-doping agency on Wednesday to allow the lab to re-test his alleged suspect urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France.

"There is simply nothing I can agree to that would provide any relevant evidence about 1999," the seven-time Tour de France winner said.

The anti-doping agency (AFLD) is proposing that Armstrong agree to have the samples re-tested to see whether they contained the banned blood-boosting drug EPO (erythropoietin).

The 37-year-old American was accused in 2005 by French sports newspaper L'Equipe of using performance boosting drugs.

L'Equipe claimed six urine samples from his 1999 Tour victory contained the banned blood-boosting endurance drug EPO.

Armstrong, who announced his return to cycling last month after a three-year hiatus, has always vehemently denied doping.

In an attempt to silence the critics, Armstrong's new team, Astana, has hired a drug-testing guru to monitor Armstrong's cycling comeback.

Armstrong said Wednesday that he would not agree to the re-testing because the samples in question had been spoiled due to mishandling by the French lab. Armstrong said the lab also botched his 1998 samples.

"The 1998 and 1999 Tour de France samples have not been maintained properly," he said. "They have been compromised in many ways and even three years ago they could not be tested to provide any meaningful results."

Armstrong pointed out that in 2005 he had been cleared by cycling's governing body. The International Cycling Union (UCI) hired a Dutch lawyer which conducted a probe that found no evidence of doping, he said.

Armstrong has previously accused L'Equipe and others of launching a witch hunt against him.

"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.

"(Probe) concluded that both Mr Pound and the French laboratory engaged in improper conduct that violated a number of regulations and laws."

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