Armstrong denies pointing finger at Spanish

Monday, June 7, 2004 11.00pm
While acknowledging he is in regular contact with the UCI and other bodies, Lance Armstrong has deni
Lance Armstrong has denied suggestions contained in a news story that appeared in yesterday's edition of French daily Le Monde that he sent an email to the UCI after last year's Dauphin Libr alerting the organisation to possible use of synthetic haemoglobin by Spanish riders. A US Postal spokeman has told L'Equipe that Armstrong is "in continuous contact with the UCI, the World Anti-Doping Agency and all other organisations that are working to improve cycling. He did send an email, which serves as proof that he is doing the maximum to improve things in relation to the battle against doping." In response to Le Monde's suggestion that Armstrong's email contained particular emphasis on Spanish riders, the US Postal spokesman said: "[Armstrong] has never taken aim at the Spanish. We are really surprised that such information has come into the public domain, because it can only create a war between the riders." The Le Monde story stems from the content of a new book written by former French federation president and Tour de France assistant director Daniel Baal, which is released today (Tuesday) in France. Baal talks in the book about Tour de France race organisers ASO receiving an email from Armstrong prior to last year's centenary event. According to Baal, the email asked ASO to increase their efforts in detecting possible use of synthetic haemoglobin. Baal states: "Lance Armstrong was openly worried about the use by certain riders of synthetic haemoglobin, derived from the blood of cattle, and which improves the transport of oxygen [in the body] without increasing the haematocrit level." Contacted by L'Equipe, Baal confirmed: "I saw the mail with my own eyes, but there was nothing untoward about the step Armstrong had taken. He was simply saying, 'Do what you can to seek out this product'. Since then this substance has cropped up in a number of places and notably two doping affairs that have occurred this season, the Manzano affair and the Cofidis affair." The excerpts so far released from Baal's book make no mention of Armstrong being particularly concerned about Spanish riders using synthetic haemoglobin.

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