Lance Armstrong’s 2001 Swiss Tests Not Positive

For many years everyone has believed that Lance Armstrong failed at least one doping test at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland, in particular for the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin, or EPO. Despite the cyclist admitting to doping to win seven straight Tour de France championships from 1999 to 2005, the matter of the 2001 Tour of Switzerland has remained contentious.

However, anti-doping officials have asserted that the tests of Armstrong were not positive but “suspicious” for erythropoietin. Moreover, UCI leaders have said there was nothing to cover-up for the 2001 Tour of Switzerland as the 41-year-old cyclist never tested positive. To confirm the claims, the lab reports during the Tour of Switzerland have now confirmed that Lance Armstrong never tested positive. However, two of his samples were, indeed, categorized as “highly suspicious” but after extensive testing, neither met the standard to be formally declared positive.

The lab results are included with a five-page letter sent from UCI president Pat McQuaid to World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman. USADA, copied on the letter, concerned with what it termed as “numerous inaccuracies and misstatements,” issued a response of seven pages on Friday, signed by general counsel William Bock III. McQuaid, in the UCI letter, asserts the lengthy explanation and the documents themselves “finally puts pay to the completely untrue allegations” of a positive 2001 test and “any subsequent cover-up by the UCI.”

McQuaid remarked that he reiterates therefore that not one of Armstrong’s samples could in any way have been considered to be positive results. The USADA made a response that it is now apparent that the UCI has long had in its possession multiple samples from Lance Armstrong that contained synthetic EPO and which raised strong concerns regarding the legitimacy of all of his competitive results since at least 1999. It added that it is shocking and disheartening that the UCI would accept cash payments from Armstrong after the UCI had test results in its possession demonstrating that Armstrong’s samples contained synthetic EPO.

The UCI President says the world governing body of cycling would be “very grateful” if WADA or USADA would make a public statement “confirming the information in this letter,” keeping in mind the “great damage” done to UCI’s reputation “by these false and scurrilous allegations.”

The United States Anti-Doping Agency, while replying to the letter, said documents the UCI turned over were “quite incomplete” but also says USADA is thankful that the UCI has now belatedly come around to USADA’s position that it is appropriate for the UCI to share with USADA and others in the sports world Armstrong’s test results.

Lance Armstrong was tested five times during the 2001 Tour of Switzerland – on June 19, 20, 26, 27, and 28 and three of those five included EPO tests – June 19, 26, and 27; all the tests were conducted at the accredited lab at Lausanne, Switzerland. The world’s governing body of cycling says every analysis result for Lance Armstrong is reported by the lab as being negative. The UCI letter also says the June 19 sample was originally tested on July 6; the June 26 sample on July 12. They were sent to and received by the cycling federation after the July 7 start of the 2001 Tour de France.

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