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French anti-doping chief regrets Armstrong's decision

The head of the French Anti-doping Agency Pierre Bordry was disappointed in Lance Armstrong's decision to refuse the re-analysis of his 1999 Tour de France urine samples for EPO on Thursday. Speaking with the BBC, Bordry said that had the tests been done and come back clean, "it would have been very good for him."

"But he doesn't want to do it and that's his problem," Bordry said.

Earlier this week, Bordry offered the seven-time Tour champion a chance to refute that allegations by the French newspaper L'Equipe which claimed to that a laboratory had found traces of the banned blood booster in retrospective tests from his 1999 Tour samples. Bordry offered to open six 'B' samples from the 1999 Tour and perform the EPO test "For the sake of objectivity and justice, and to enable the cyclist Lance Armstrong dispel any unfounded rumors."

In 2005, L'Equipe reported that retrospective tests done by the French National Anti-doping Laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry (LNDD) had found EPO in several of Armstrong's 1999 samples. Armstrong responded to Bordry's offer this week by citing the "Vrijman report," an independent investigation by Dutch attorney Emile Vrijman which concluded that the testing done by the LNDD did not produce "any factual basis" that there had been an anti-doping violation, and that no action had been taken against him by the UCI.

The report found issue with the way the lab had performed the testing, saying that it had used "a non-disclosed and non-validated" procedure, and which departed from the normal World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) procedure for declaring a rider positive for doping.

"If Mr. Bordry would now like to re-examine the past," Armstrong stated on Wednesday, "he must start with presenting the issues of the misconduct of the French laboratory, the French Ministry, and WADA before a proper tribunal."

Armstrong also argued that the report also found that the samples were not stored or handled properly during the nearly six years of storage prior to the 2005 tests. "The conclusions were the samples have not been maintained properly, have been compromised in many ways, and even three years ago could not be tested to provide any meaningful results," said Armstrong.

The Vrijman report stated, "There is no internal chain of custody. The identity and integrity of the samples is not guaranteed." However, Bordry disagreed. "Scientifically there is no problem to analyse these samples," he said. "They have been kept in good condition and we have enough quantity to do (the tests). Everything is correct."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
January 8, 2009 - Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under
January 7, 2009 - Armstrong believes Team Astana can dominate Tour
December 10, 2008 - Merckx: Armstrong's return good for cycling and Giro
December 8, 2008 - Armstrong climbs Teide
December 6, 2008 - Rast on life with Armstrong
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong considers Tour of Ireland
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong: Contador is the best
December 4, 2008 - Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
December 3, 2008 - Armstrong and Contador ride separate paths towards Tour
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong surfs with Astana
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong plans to race Tour
December 1, 2008 - Armstrong's anti-doping testing program pending
November 23, 2008 - Media out of love with Armstrong?
November 22, 2008 - Andreu caught up in Armstrong fight again
November 19, 2008 - Armstrong concerned about Tour safety
November 17, 2008 - Armstrong to meet with ASO
November 9, 2008 - Armstrong racing in Texas again
November 7, 2008 - Exclusive Armstrong wind tunnel video
November 7, 2008 - Lance Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference
November 6, 2008 - Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training
November 5, 2008 - Armstrong looking for balance
November 5, 2008 - Photos from Armstrong's wind tunnel test
November 3, 2008 - Armstrong doubles up and heads to wind tunnel

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

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