By Gregor Brown in Compiègne, France
The Tour de France's director expects to see Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France this July despite the American's own doubts that he will be allowed to race. Christian Prudhomme told Cyclingnews on Saturday that despite the American's recent trouble with the anti-doping authorities in France, he sees Armstrong participating in this year's Tour.
"I imagine he will be at the Tour de France and I imagine he will also be at the Giro d'Italia," said Prudhomme to Cyclingnews Saturday.
The seven-time winner of the race is at the mercy of the French anti-doping agency (AFLD), who reported improper behaviour by the American in a March 17th control.
The French anti-doping agency will decide next month if it will attempt to sanction Armstrong for failure to remain in the presence of the doping control officer. Should he be punished, he could be banned from racing in France.
Armstrong, who has a long history of conflict with the French media and anti-doping agency was pessimistic about his chances of racing the Tour in a video update. "I know … that my comeback hasn't been welcomed by a lot of people in France. I suspect this will escalate and we'll see a bit more antics out of the AFLD in the future, and there is a high likelihood that they will prohibit me from riding in the Tour," Armstrong said.
Prudhomme said he had not yet spoken with the anti-doping agency about the affair. "I don't want to comment on anything that doesn't depend on us."
The French anti-doping agency took Armstrong's hair, blood and urine in an out-of-competition control. He was at his home in Cap Martin, France, training for the Milano-Sanremo. According to Armstrong, all of the controls came back negative, and the tester did not note any abnormal behaviour on his part on the forms which were completed on that date.
For more information on Armstrong, read Talking Giro, Twitter and the Tour.