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Armstrong press conference turns tense

By Neal Rogers

A scheduled Lance Armstrong press conference at the Interbike cycling trade show in Las Vegas turned tense Thursday morning when three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond questioned his plan to disclose his blood and urine values during Armstrong’s 2009 comeback season.

Armstrong announced Wednesday in New York City that he is working closely with Don Catlin, who formerly ran UCLA’s World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory. In an attempt at full transparency, Catlin will post Armstrong’s biomarkers online for the sports community to see.

LeMond, who has been at odds with Armstrong for years going back to the Texan’s relationship with controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, sat in the front row and was granted the first question by Armstrong.

LeMond immediately brought Catlin’s methods into question, claiming that VO2 max, oxygen intake and power output can be used as indicators of whether a rider has used illicit performance-enhancing methods.

Catlin, whose background is in laboratory testing for banned substances, answered LeMond by saying, “that’s not my area of expertise.”

LeMond told Catlin and Armstrong that it might not be Catlin’s area of expertise, but it is an area that Australian researcher Michael Ashenden has studied.

Armstrong, who was joined on the podium by Catlin and American teenage cycling phenom Taylor Phinney, then interjected, telling LeMond, “We are here to talk about a few things — the global cancer campaign, my comeback to cycling… I appreciate your being here, but it’s time for everyone here to move on.”

Lemond replied, “So the whole history has just been passed over?”

Armstrong then moved on to the next question.

LeMond drew a similar line of questioning later in the press conference, and after several minutes Armstrong quipped, “Greg, I almost feel like we should have a fourth chair up here” before cutting LeMond off and again taking other questions.

Check back to VeloNews.com later today for a more detailed account of Armstrong’s press conference, as well as VeloNews.TV for video footage.

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