Update: French seek "opinion" about Lance Armstrong's behaviour during dope test he responds

Lack of tea and cake at chez Armstrong annoys dope testers… or something

by Rebecca McIlhone   April 7, 2009  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

A report on Lance Armstrong’s behaviour during a recent test by France’s anti-doping agency, AFLD, has been sent to the International Cycling Union (UCI), according to the Associated Press.

AFLD chief Pierre Bordry yesterday declined to disclose any details about the content of the report which was also sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency. The doctor who conducted the March 17 test is said to be the author.

"I sent (the report) in order to get an opinion on the matter. I am not making any judgments," Bordry said in a telephone interview, adding that the AFLD will decide whether to investigate the incident further once it receives a response from the UCI.

However, UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told The Associated Press on Monday that his organization doesn't have any jurisdiction in the matter. Testing of hair samples is allowed under French law, but is not recognized by WADA or the UCI.

During the out-of-competition test in Beaulieu-sur-Mer in southern France — where Armstrong was training as part of his comeback in a bid to win an eighth Tour de France title — the American rider was asked to provide a hair sample.

Armstrong said it was the 24th anti-doping test he had undergone since coming out of retirement in September, but the first time he had ever been asked to provide a hair sample. Armstrong commented on the effect on his haircut, saying he'd been "butchered."

He also mentioned the matter on his Twitter feed the day after the test, saying: “So I'm clear - never complaining about these tests. Def part of the job. Feel targeted? Of course. But anything to prove I'm clean. Onward.”

Last night Lance Armstrong issued this statement regarding the incident.

"Outrageous reports yesterday coming out of France allege that I 'misbehaved' during a recent unannounced drug test performed by the French government while I was training in southern France in early March.

"The test in question was my 24th unannounced drug test since I announced my return to cycling last fall. The first 23 of those tests were performed without any questions and all have been returned negative. This 24th test, which included a blood test, a urine test, and a test of a substantial quantity of my hair, was also negative.

"I returned home that day after a long training ride to find a man chasing me as I rode up to the house. He stopped me and told me he was from the French laboratory and was here to test me. I had never heard of labs or governments doing drug testing and I had no idea who this guy was or whether he was telling the truth.

"I've been tested in-competition and out-of-competition by USADA, by WADA, by the UCI, and by testing authorities at all the events in which I have competed, but I was unaware that in France the government tests athletes and takes the position it can test any athlete residing in or visiting France. I also had never heard of a laboratory (as opposed to an anti-doping organization) sending testers to collect samples.

"We asked the tester for evidence of his authority. We looked at his papers but they were far from clear or impressive and we still had significant questions about who he was or for whom he worked. I was there with Johan Bruyneel and two other people. We told the tester we wanted to check with the UCI to confirm who he was and to make sure he wasn't just some French guy with a backpack and some equipment to take my blood and urine.

"Johan stayed with him and in his presence called the UCI to find out what was going on. We asked if it was OK for me to run inside and shower while they made their calls and the tester said that was fine.

"As soon as they completed the phone calls, which took about 20 minutes, we started the tests. Johan had confirmed with the UCI that the tester had authority from the French government to take samples. I immediately provided blood, urine and hair samples - all the samples that he requested, as he requested. All this was done within 20 minutes of returning home from my ride and finding the tester at my home.

"I did not try to evade or delay the testing process that day. I had just returned from an all day training session, wasn't sure who this French man at my home was, and as soon as the UCI confirmed that he was authorised to conduct the tests, I let him take all the samples he requested.

"The drug collection forms we both signed state that we started the testing just 20 minutes after I arrived home. In addition, the form asked the tester to state if there were any irregularities or further observations from the testing process and to that he wrote "no". I have learned that after the tests were all negative, the laboratory has now suggested that the 20-minute delay should be investigated.

"I find it amazing that I've been tested 24 times without incident and the first test I do in France results in more outrageous allegations and negative leaks to the press. This is just another example of the improper behaviour by the French laboratory and the French anti-doping organisations.

"I am sorry that they are disappointed that all the tests were negative, but I do not use any prohibited drugs or substances. As always, I'm available anytime and anywhere to be tested. It is this sort of behavior that hurts the entire system and causes me and many other athletes to call for reforms in general and an improvement in the conduct of French laboratories and authorities in particular."

2 user comments

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what do they think he did in those 20 minutes? change his hair? Thinking

purplecup's picture

posted by purplecup [232 posts]
8th April 2009 - 9:55

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putting the kettle on, ratching through the cupboards for some petit fours, maybe a pack of chocolate Hobnobs… those French fellas can be very particular about food 'n' stuff

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
8th April 2009 - 10:10

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