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Lance Armstrong's comeback continues to make news. Pierre Bodry, who heads the French Anti-Doping Agency(AFLD) has asked Lance for permission to test his urine samples from the 1999 Tour for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). You may remember that back in 2005, under the guise of trying to develop a better test for EPO, the French National Anti-Doping Laboratory(LNDD) tested a bunch of urine samples from the 1999 Tour and claimed that they were, through records provided by the UCI, able to link Armstrong to several of the samples which tested positive for EPO.

 

Lance disputed the results noting that the samples were six years old raising the question of spoilage and also raising the issue that there was no confirming, or "B" sample, to back up the validity of the results. Armstrong's concerns were valid and it appeared to most Americans that this was just another French witch hunt.

 

In light of all the allegations an independent investigation into the testing was conducted; the results of the investigation concluded that the French laboratory(LNDD), the French Ministry of Sport and then WADA Chief Dick Pound all behaved improperly regarding the 1999 Tour samples.

 

Now that Lance is back in the saddle, Mssr. Bodry wants to put the issue to rest by testing the samples in the AFLD lab.  In response to the Frenchman's request, Lance issued a public statement basically re-iterating his concerns from 2005 and denying any further testing of his 1999 samples.

 

I agree with Lance.  It has now been nine years since those samples were taken and even though Mssr. Bodry has assured everyone that the samples are not spoiled, I just think too much time has passed to go back and re-visit this issue. It is worth noting that when professional cycling agreed to abide by the WADA code in 2001, one of the provisions in that code was that blood and urine samples could and would be stored for potential future testing. However, in 1999, this provision did not exist, neither did WADA for that matter, so there is no guarantee that there were procedures in place to insure that sample spoilage would not occur.

 

Also, the lack of a confirming or "B" sample is critical. I am a big proponent of athletes' rights and one of the few rights riders seem to have these days is the ability to request that their "B" sample be tested to confirm a positive "A" sample.

 

Do you agree with Lance or should he allow his samples to be tested?

 

Bruce

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