A day after officially announcing his comeback to professional cycling, Lance Armstrong made an appearance at the Interbike trade show to give the cycling media and industry an opportunity to hear more details of his plans, including the special testing by Don Catlin of the UCLA anti-doping lab. Catlin joined him on stage along with American Taylor Phinney, who will lead Armstrong's new U23 developmental team.
Sitting in the front row, asking the first question was another Tour de France champion and outspoken critic of Armstrong, Greg LeMond. Cyclingnews was on hand to hear the plans and questioning from the industry, including LeMond.
LeMond led off the questioning with some pointed ones, all surrounding the theme of questioning the reasonability of the planned special testing of Armstrong by Don Catlin of the UCLA lab.
"I see Mr. Greg LeMond is here," Armstrong said somewhat wryly, but allowed him to have the first question.
LeMond pressed Armstrong and Catlin about the type of testing they had planned. He called into question the proposed testing, arguing that it is not comprehensive enough, such as using T/E ratios and tests for specific EPO drugs as opposed to measuring physiological variables such as power output changes over time. LeMond inferred that a spike in power output would better indicate the use of something illegal compared to trying to test for particular substances.
"That is not my area," responded Catlin. "He will be subject to testing by everyone under the sun. I think that will be all sorted out."
Catlin said that the actual program is still taking shape. "[Lance] has agreed to a couple of a few very fundamental points. One is his data, like T/E ratio and all that kind of stuff that a doping control is allowed to do will be on the web, so you can see it. 'Ah, your T/E ratio changed today, what happened?' Like to see if he is taking EPO – all the actors to make it a very public campaign.
"The other thing is samples will be kept frozen for a good long time so that if next year, five years a new test comes out and someone says Lance was doing something five years ago, we can pull out the samples and test them. This is longitudinal testing whereas the usual type of testing is taking a stop in time. This is where you connect the dots and is much more powerful kind of program to understand the physiology."
"That is all irrelevant," LeMond responded. "It doesn't matter about T/E ratio but watts and power output..."
"I don't think it is irrelevant," said Catlin. "I dare say you know this business pretty well! Come with your ideas of what we should do!"
At that point Armstrong stepped in tried to move things along. "You've done your job," Armstrong said to LeMond. "We are here to talk about a couple of things, like the Global Clinton campaign and my comeback to cycling. It's time for us, everybody in this room, to move on. We are not going to go there, I appreciate you being here – next question."Watch the exchange between Armstrong and LeMond on the video here:
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