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Armstrong rejects retest offer

Armstrong rejects a call to retest samples from his Postal days.

Armstrong rejects a call to retest samples from his Postal days.

Photo: Agence France Presse

Lance Armstrong has rejected an offer from France’s anti-doping agency to retest urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Armstrong said that the storage problems and procedural errors that were raised when the samples were last retested in 2005 show that “there is simply nothing that I can agree to that would provide any relevant evidence about 1999.”

Armstrong pointed to an ensuing investigation that found fault with the laboratory that conducted the test, the French Sports Ministry and former World Anti-Doping Agency head Dick Pound as reason not to conduct further tests on the remaining samples.

Armstrong, instead, said that he has hired former UCLA anti-doping lab director Don Catlin to develop a strict program of testing to ensure that questions about his use of performance-enhancing drugs will be answered in the coming year as he attempts to resume his career as a professional cyclist after a three-year layoff.

Statement from Lance Armstrong
October 1, 2008
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 Tours 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, I am working with the man who has been the leader of the world anti-doping community for the past twenty-five years. I approached Dr. Don Catlin in August and proposed to him that he should develop a comprehensive drug testing protocol, to test my blood and urine as often as he believes is appropriate, in order for him to determine categorically whether I have taken any performance-enhancing drugs. As I have stated, I have given Dr. Catlin my permission to post all of my testing results on the internet. Dr. Catlin is developing a protocol that will be available to other athletes who may want to subject themselves to such a rigorous drug testing regimen that Dr. Catlin or other leading anti-doping experts can determine whether they have used performance enhancing drugs.

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