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American said to have been given time “to cover his tracks”
Lance Armstrong was “warned before all planned doping controls,” an adviser to the French anti-doping agency AFLD has said. Michel Rieu, scientific adviser to AFLD, said this was only one of the methods the American used to escape detection of his doping.
"The inspectors encountered many difficulties in making unannounced checks. Armstrong was always informed in advance, so he still had twenty minutes to cover his tracks. He could thin his blood or replace his urine. He used the EPO only in small quantities, so it was no longer there to detect. We were powerless against this way of working,” Rieu told the Le Monde newspaper.
He also claimed that Armstrong used a large network to help him with his doping, and his avoidance of positive doping controls. "Armstrong let himself be surrounded by many physiologists. Also in the logistics field, everything was possible. The rumor was that his private jet was flying blood in from the United States.”
Armstrong was on Friday given a lifetime ban by the USADA, with all his results since August 1998, disqualified, including his seven Tour de France victories. He had chosen not to challenge doping charges which the American agency had brought against him.
French attorney Thibault de Montbrial, who defended the paper in a suit filed by Armstrong against LA Confidential authors David Walsh and Pierre Ballester, thinks the cumulative pressure of authors such as these and the SCA Promotions lawsuit that followed contributed to the downfall of Armstrong.
He also believes riders are still showing suspicious signs.
"Work together with Antoine Vayer [LeMond columnist], the performance specialist, helped show the implausibility of the power generated in watts on the climbs. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the UCI has banned the publication of such real-time statistics in 2012. And we can understand why when you see that the power production by [Bradley] Wiggins and [Chris] Froome (first and second of the Tour) is comparable to the turbulent times of the late 1990s and early 2000s."