Swiss Lab Refutes USADA Armstrong Claim

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LAUSANNE, Jan 11, 2013 (AFP) – A Swiss laboratory on Friday denied that it
helped Lance Armstrong cheat after claims from the US Anti-Doping Agency that
it gave the shamed cyclist information about how to beat drug tests.

“Did I give the keys to get around EPO (erythropoietin) tests? The answer
is clear: no,” Martial Saugy, head of the anti-doping laboratory in the Swiss
city of Lausanne, told a news conference.

The head of the USADA, Travis Tygart, claimed in an interview broadcast on
Wednesday that Saugy tipped off the Texan rider about a test for the illegal
blood booster in 2002.

That followed a “suspicious” sample the cyclist had given after the 2001
Tour of Switzerland, he told CBS television, adding that Saugy had told him
that Armstrong had given samples that indicated EPO use.

Tygart also said the Swiss lab chief told him that world cycling’s
governing body asked him to meet Armstrong and his former manager Johan
Bruyneel to explain the EPO testing process, calling the rendezvous “totally
inappropriate”.

Saugy on Friday confirmed that the International Cycling Union (UCI) had
asked him to meet the pair but added: “In the context I remain persuaded that
it was the thing to do. It was neither an error nor naivety as some people
have written.”

He added that it would be “paradoxical” that the lab that found the first
cases of EPO use should be the one to meet the race champion to tell him how
to get around the test.

“Our objective at the laboratory is anti-doping tests,” he added.

Armstrong was banned for life from cycling and stripped of his seven Tour
de France wins after the UCI confirmed a damning USADA dossier that placed him
at the heart of what they said was the most sophisticated doping programme in
sport.

Tygart said that six of cancer-survivor Armstrong’s samples taken during
his first Tour win in 1999 eventually tested positive when they were looked at
again in 2005.

Armstrong, 41, continues to deny the allegations but is to appear on the
Oprah Winfrey chat show in the United States next week, prompting speculation
that he could own up to mitigate his ban and make a return to competition in
triathlon events.

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