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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Lance Armstrong tested positive for banned substances?

A French newspaper reported just that and now the Tour De France's director says the cyclist owes an explanation.

These allegations have all been around earlier. The substance EPO, has been banned since 1990. But a test wasn't possible till 2001. The results the French Sports daily L'Equipe reported on came from 1999, but were not tested till 2004. All of this is highly odd to put it mildly. I'm no expert, I'll let you draw the conclusions.

By ANGELA DOLAND, Associated Press Writer

PARIS - The director of the Tour de France claims Lance Armstrong has "fooled" the sports world and that the seven-time champion owes fans an explanation over new allegations he used a performance-boosting drug.

Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc's comments appeared in the French sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday, a day after the newspaper reported that six urine samples provided by Armstrong during the '99 Tour tested positive for the red blood cell-booster EPO.

"For the first time — and these are no longer rumors, or insinuations, these are proven scientific facts — someone has shown me that in 1999, Armstrong had a banned substance called EPO in his body," Leblanc told L'Equipe.

"The ball is now in his court. Why, how, by whom? He owes explanations to us and to everyone who follows the tour. Today, what L'Equipe revealed shows me that I was fooled. We were all fooled."

On Tuesday, Leblanc called the latest accusations against Armstrong shocking and troubling.

Armstrong, a frequent target of L'Equipe, vehemently denied the allegations Tuesday, calling the article "tabloid journalism."

"I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance-enhancing drugs," he said on his Web site.

Armstrong, who retired from professional cycling after winning the Tour a month ago, was not immediately available for comment regarding Leblanc's latest remarks.

EPO, formally known as erythropoietin, was on the list of banned substances at the time Armstrong won the first of his seven Tour's, but there was no effective test then to detect it.

The allegations surfaced six years later because EPO tests on the 1999 samples were carried out only last year — when scientists at a lab outside Paris used them for research to perfect EPO testing. The national anti-doping laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry said it promised to hand its finding to the World Anti-Doping Agency, provided it was never used to penalize riders.

Five-time cycling champion Miguel Indurain said he couldn't understand why scientists would use samples from the 1999 Tour for their tests.

"That seems bizarre, and I don't know who would have the authorization to do it," he told L'Equipe. "I don't even know if it's legal to keep these samples."

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