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War of words between UCI and Ashenden continues
The UCI has reacted to Michael Ashenden’s assertion that he had not seen Lance Armstrong’s blood profile during his time on the Biological Passport panel by revealing previously unpublished material pointing to the contrary. The UCI has stated that Ashenden, who quit the passport panel last year, studied Armstrong’s anonymous data before the 2009 Giro d’Italia, and reported the profile as ‘normal’. However Ashenden, who claimed not to have seen Armstrong’s data, has always asserted that the American doped during the Tour de France, a period in which it’s unclear whether his data was studied by Ashenden.
“Michael Ashenden’s assertion that he never had the opportunity to review Lance Armstrong’s profile is very surprising,” said UCI Communication Director Enrico Carpani.
“First of all, I would like to point out that Dr Ashenden’s claims that the UCI never submitted Lance Armstrong’s profile is not only untrue, but it shows that he would appear to have little knowledge or an astonishingly inaccurate knowledge of how the whole system works.”
Since Armstrong published his blood profile in 2009 the rider has faced accusations of doping since his return to the sport that year. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey last month he admitted to doping at US Postal in order to win his seven Tours but claimed that he had been clean in 2009 and 2010 during his comeback. Ashenden rebutted Armstrong’s position stating in several interviews that the rider’s blood data pointed towards manipulation. In an interview with Velonews last week, Ashenden stated:
“With regard to McQuaid’s slippery assertion that I had reviewed Armstrong’s blood profile, I lay London to a brick that I did not. If in fact I’m wrong, and I did review the profile, I hereby give the UCI full permission to publish whatever opinion that I gave on that profile. The ball is now in the UCI’s court on that one.”
The UCI has reacted by saying, “As everyone should know, the APMU (Athletes Passport Management Unit, which is an independent unit established in Lausanne) regularly submits profiles to the experts of the panel. This procedure is strictly anonymous, which means that neither Dr Ashenden nor any other expert would ever have known when or how many times the profile of one rider or another was submitted to him. Having said that, the UCI wishes to confirm that on May 4, 2009 Dr Ashenden and two other experts on the Biological Passport panel received the profiles of eight riders. These profiles were selected randomly and included that of Lance Armstrong.”
“This profile was based on 9 results of analyses carried out in 2008 (October 16, November 26, December 3, December 11 and December 18) and 2009 (January 16, February 4, February 13, March 11).”
“In their responses (in the case of Dr Ashenden, on May 5 2009), it is interesting to note that of the three experts, Dr Ashenden was the only one to have defined this profile as “normal” without making any other remarks, comments or reservations (of the eight profiles submitted, Dr Ashenden was the expert who most often used the definition “normal” with no further comment).”
“The UCI is, once again, concerned by the inaccurate and flimsy manner in which Dr Ashenden comments on this case. Although we obviously cannot make the relevant documents public, they are available for inspection by Dr Ashenden at any time should he wish to come and verify the truth of the above information.”