Following yesterday’s revelation that Food & Drug Special Agent Jeff Novitzky and other US investigators looking into allegations of doping in US cycling and the former US Postal team, and Lance Armstrong in particular, had arrived in France for a meeting later this week with the country’s anti-doping agency, the AFLD, it has emerged that officials from the latter have been interviewed at the headquarters of Interpol in Lyon.
According to the Associated Press, an unnamed official from AFLD confirmed that Françoise Lasne, the director of the AFLD agency's laboratory, and testing director Jean-Pierre Verdy, had been interviewed as witnesses yesterday by Interpol, whose activities include co-ordinating the investigations of law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Earlier, an anonymous AFLD official – it is unclear whether it is the same person – had said that with regard to the visit of Novitzky and his colleagues, who are investigating allegations within US pro cycling in an enquiry that has become focused on Lance Armstrong and his former US Postal Service team, the agency was prepared to share “everything we know, everything we have, in the fridges, in the freezers, everything, everywhere,” and that it was prepared to provide answers to "everything that they ask.”
Pierre Brodry, who stepped down as head of the AFLD earlier this year, has said that the agency would be prepared to hand over samples of Armstrong’s urine collected during the 1999 edition of the Tour de France, the year the Texan won the first of his seven overall victories in the race, if US investigators requested them.
In 2005, the French sports daily L’Equipe alleged that traces of EPO had been found in urine samples taken from the then US Postal Service rider at the 1999 Tour, although following an investigation, the UCI cleared Armstrong, who has consistently denied taking performance enhancing substances, of any wrongdoing.
Yesterday, talking about the possibility of US investigators taking possession of those 1999 samples, Mark Fabiani, counsel for Lance Armstrong, stated in an email to road.cc and other media outlets: "The samples were clean when originally provided and tested. So we have nothing to be concerned about. Period."
It is understood that the AFLD will be holding a press conference later this week regarding its involvement in the case.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.