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French lab offers to retest Armstrong’s ’99 samples

France's national anti-doping agency (AFLD) has offered to test allegedly suspect samples taken from Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France. Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, announced last month that he intends to return to the sport following a three-year absence from the peloton.

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France's AFLD offers to retest samples from the 1999 Tour.

France’s AFLD offers to retest samples from the 1999 Tour.

Photo: AFP

France’s national anti-doping agency (AFLD) has offered to test allegedly suspect samples taken from Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France.

Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, announced last month that he intends to return to the sport following a three-year absence from the peloton.

During his career, the American was accused of doping practices on several occasions, most notably in an article in French sports newspaper L’Equipe in 2005.

The daily newspaper, operated by the same company that owns the Tour de France, claimed six urine samples from his 1999 Tour victory contained the banned blood-boosting drug EPO (erythropoietin) – claims strongly denied by Armstrong. The urine test for the presence for EPO was not introduced until the 2000 Giro d’Italia and not fully implemented until 2001.

Armstrong denied charges outlined in a 2005 <i>L'Equipe</i> article.

Armstrong denied charges outlined in a 2005 L’Equipe article.

Photo:

Some experts had questioned whether proper testing could be performed on old samples, but AFLD said in a statement released on Wednesday: “The way these samples are preserved and the volume of them mean that you can do an analysis for the possible presence of EPO on at least five stages of the 1999 Tour de France.

“AFLD offers Lance Armstrong an analysis of his samples from the 1999 Tour de France to prove his good faith.”

A spokesman for the lab added that should the tests come back positive, there could be no anti-doping disciplinary procedures against Armstrong because of the eight-year moratorium on doping offenses.

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