The French sports newspaper, L’Equipe, continues to accuse Lance of taking drugs, now with re-tested samples from 1999. The Tour de France blog points out how flawed L’Equipe’s evidence is. More coverage from BBC. Lance denies it, just as he always has:
I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance-enhancing drugs.
Yet again, a European newspaper has reported that I’ve tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. L’Equipe is reporting that my 1999 samples were positive.
The lab cannot link the results to a sportsman and can therefore not confirm the link made by L’Equipe between the test results and the documents they publish
Statement by France’s national anti-doping laboratory
The paper even admits in its own article that the science in question here is faulty and that I have no way to defend myself.
The French are angry because French riders are so bad in the Tour and their hero and only hope, Richard Virenque, was nailed in 1998 for taking drugs in the scandal that almost shut down the Tour that year. One of the reasons Lance won every year since 1999, and the reason so many Americans are doing so well in European cycling, is because the Europeans can’t cheat anymore thanks to strict drug-testing. This was also a great (my only?) opportunity to show the photo I took of Richard Virenque being interviewed at the 2005 Tour this year.
VeloNews has reactions to the story, including my favorite:
Raymond Poulidor (three-time runner-up and five-time third place finisher of the Tour de France): This is ridiculous. Why not retroactively test all the way back to 1903?