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Armstrong refuses French drug panel request

Three-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and seven of his U.S. Postal team cyclists have rejected a call to appear before a Paris drugs' tribunal. Sources in Paris close to the 15-month investigation into possible misuse of doping agents by the American team that Armstrong had rejected the summons which had called on eight U.S. Postal riders to appear as "witnesses" in the investigation. The probe was launched in November 2000 to determine whether US Postal had broken laws relating to the use of drugs or incitement to use them, after a French television crew filmed team staff

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002

Three-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and seven of his U.S. Postal team cyclists have rejected a call to appear before a Paris drugs’ tribunal.

Sources in Paris close to the 15-month investigation into possible misuse of doping agents by the American team that Armstrong had rejected the summons which had called on eight U.S. Postal riders to appear as “witnesses” in the investigation.

The probe was launched in November 2000 to determine whether US Postal had broken laws relating to the use of drugs or incitement to use them, after a French television crew filmed team staff disposing of medical waste at a roadside rest stop during that year’s Tour. Investigators have thus far failed to show any evidence the team acted illegally and Armstrong and his teammates were being summoned merely “to close the doors” on the file, sources explained.

Armstrong told drug squad officers the U.S. Postal riders had already been quizzed and had no new additional evidence to offer.

A doctor working for the team did agree to turn up recently but refused to answer questions from the police.

Last April Armstrong announced that test results from urine samples and medical waste studied in the case had been returned with no traces of the banned drugs. Investigators, however, have made no such public pronouncements.