Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said that he trusts the findings of the French laboratory whose evidence provides the basis for L'Equipe's allegations that Lance Armstrong used EPO in the 1999 Tour de france.
Speaking to Germany's NetZeitung, Pound said, "After we looked at all the documents in this matter, I see a very high probability that there was performance-enhancing drugs activity."
Asked how trustworthy was the laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry that found traces of EPO in stored urine samples from the 1999 Tour, Pound said the lab was one of the leading centres in the world for investigation of EPO use. "I therefore have no reason to believe that the analysis of the samples was not regular. Yes, the laboratory found EPO traces in many samples. It may be that EPO traces disappear gradually from urine, but it cannot be that no EPO should be in them and then it emerges as if from nowhere."
Pound explained that WADA had not been supplied with any names of the riders whose samples had been tested. "We only got the report from the French laboratory. Our information about Lance Armstrong came from the sport newspaper L'Equipe."
However, Pound admitted that it would be "legally very problematic" for WADA to take any action against Lance Armstrong.
Cyclingnews coverage of the L'Equipe allegations
June 27, 2006 - Carmichael defends Armstrong, Armstrong answers L'Equipe & LeMond
June 26, 2006 - LeMond: "Armstrong threatened my life"
June 19, 2006 - Armstrong calls for Pound's exit
June 18, 2006 - Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound
June 4, 2006 - UCI hits back at WADA
June 3, 2006 - WADA slams the Vrijman report
June 2, 2006 - L'Equipe stands by its story, UCI supports Vrijman's findings
June 1, 2006 - UCI, WADA and Armstrong react to Vrijman's report
May 31, 2006 - UCI lawyer asks for Armstrong's name to be cleared
May 14, 2006 - Two more weeks for Armstrong investigation
Click here for full coverage of the L'Equipe allegations.