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Must Reads: Sports Illustrated reports new information on Armstrong investigation

Sports Illustrated: New information on Armstrong investigation

On its web site, the magazine is presenting a sort of executive summary of a long-awaited article to appear in print in the January 24 issue, on newsstands Wednesday.

The magazine will report that “a source with knowledge of the government’s investigation” said that in the late 1990s Armstrong “gained access” to a new drug, HemAssist, that was said to offer similar benefits to EPO. An Armstrong spokesman denied that he ever took the drug. HemAssist was pulled from clinical trials in 1998 before it was ever marketed. However, cyclist Dario Frigo was caught with some HemAssist vials in his bag in 2001.

The magazine also quotes a Floyd Landis story about Armstrong being searched after arriving in Switzerland on a private plane. Landis said Armstrong’s bag contained banned drugs but that he told the custom agents they were vitamins, and he was allowed in. Armstrong denied to Sports Illustrated that the incident ever took place.

The magazine says that a search of Yaroslav Popovych’s apartment in Italy last year turned up evidence that Armstrong’s team was still working with controversial doctor Michele Ferrari. Armstrong has said he cut his ties with Ferrari in 2004.

The magazine reports that UCLA anti-doping expert Don Catlin had found unusual testosterone-epitestosterone ratios in Armstrong’s blood samples, but that Catlin was unable to confirm the ratio in B-samples.

The magazine quotes one of Armstrong’s Motorola teammates Stephen Swart. Swart told the magazine that Armstrong pushed team members to use EPO. He also tells of an in-house test for hematocrit levels and said Armstrong raced in the 1995 Tour de France with a level of “54 or 56.”

More on the Armstrong investigation.

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