Road

Armstrong abandons internal testing program

Saying they are now redundant, Lance Armstrong said on Saturday that he has dispensed with the additional personal doping tests he adopted to silence critics who suspect him of using drugs.

By Agence France Presse
Saying they are now redundant, Lance Armstrong said on Saturday that he has dispensed with the additional personal doping tests he adopted to silence critics who suspect him of using drugs.

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Armstrong meets the press in Adelaide.

Armstrong said he had proved he was clean by undergoing the tests, alongside routine checks by anti-doping authorities, and posting results online.

“I did 52 controls last year and most of them included blood and urine,” Armstrong said. “There would be no way to get around that unless you’ve got some stuff or voodoo, something ─ but that’s not an option.”

The 38-year-old Armstrong embarked on the tests to address lingering doping questions when he came out of a three-and-a-half year retirement to return to racing last year.

But Armstrong said that the UCI’s “biological passport,” which logs riders’ test results over time to check for variations, was sophisticated enough to make independent testing pointless.

“The biological passport has got to a point … that it controls all those things that an independent program would do, which is good news,” he said.

“I’m not sure it’s the perfect solution, but it’s the next level when it comes to fighting doping in sport.”

Armstrong has long battled doping allegations, including French sports paper L’Equipe‘s 2005 story that showed his urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France contained banned blood booster EPO.

In 2006, he sued a British newspaper over an article based on David Walsh’s book “LA Confidential ─ The Secrets of Lance Armstrong,” which outlined several doping allegations. The case was settled out of court.

Armstrong expressed frustration that some scientists had questioned his personal test results even though he had gone to the trouble of making them freely available on the Internet.

“You’ve got 1,000 scientists looking at it, one of them says ‘this is suspicious’. Of course you’re going to have someone say that,” he said. “And that’s the story that gets printed. Obviously that’s frustrating for us.”

Armstrong is in Adelaide for next week’s Tour Down Under, the southern hemisphere’s biggest race and curtain-raiser for the 2010 season.