US Cycling chief defends Lance
US Cycling’s COO defends Lance Armstrong against claims of EPO use and says the whole affair ‘is an
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
US Cycling’s chief operating officer Steve Johnson has defended Lance Armstrong following the allegations of EPO use made against him by French newspaper L’Equipe last week. The paper claimed that tests on what they allege were Armstrong’s urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France showed evidence of use of the blood-boosting product EPO.
“This isn’t a ‘doping positive’,” Johnson told Reuters. “This is just a publication in a French tabloid newspaper. That’s our perspective. To me, this is an issue for the French people. They seemed very concerned about it and, frankly, I don’t care what they think. And I don’t think Lance does either.”
Johnson added: “WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and the US Anti-Doping Agency, they’ve all defined a process for collecting samples, managing samples, testing the samples, identifying the people who are involved. They have certain rights in the process. None of that has been followed in this case.”
There has been widespread agreement within anti-doping agencies and other sports-related bodies that agreed procedures have not been followed in this case. Armstrong has also pointed this out in a statement, as well as strenuously denying that he has ever used performance-enhancing products.
“This whole thing isn’t a big deal for Americans,” said Johnson. “What Lance has accomplished is so much bigger than just the Tour de France. That’s only part of it.”