Last August, I wrote about how Lance Armstrong was accused of doping in the 1999 Tour de France. French newspaper L’Equipe accused Lance Armstrong of using EPO, an illegal steroid. A Dutch anti-doping agency has exhonerated Lance Armstrong and claims that not only is there validity to the testing methods that were used, but that the testing methods may have been illegal to begin with.

“Today’s comprehensive report makes it clear that there is no truth to that accusation,” Armstrong said in a statement. “I have now retired, but for the sake of all athletes still competing who deserve a level playing field and a fair system of drug testing, the time has come to take action against these kinds of attacks before they destroy the credibility of WADA and, in turn, the international anti-doping system. The report confirms my innocence, but also finds that Mr. Pound along with the French lab and the French ministry have ignored the rules and broken the law,” Armstrong said. “They have also refused to cooperate with the investigation in an effort to conceal the full scope of their wrongdoing.”

This whole situation is a big mess. Here is what happened in a nutshell:

  1. Lance Armstrong gives urine samples during the 1999 Tour de France
  2. Last year, the last blood sample from Armstrong was used in a research study by the French national anti-doping laboratory (LNDD)
  3. The urine samples in the study were not properly controlled or accounted for, both in their being obtained and in their test methods
  4. It is leaked to French newspaper L’Equipe that a urine sample provided by Lance Armstrong tested positive for EPO
  5. No additional urine samples are available to verify the claims
  6. A Dutch anti-doping agency finds no evidence that Lance Armstrong cheated, but does find evidence that WADA and LNDD behaved unethically in their witchhunt on Lance Armstrong and may have broken the law
  7. Interviews are being given before WADA, UCI, or LNDD have had a proper chance to review the report

Nobody seems very happy. I have to agree with Lance Armstrong, though. Hopefully WADA gets its act together and tighter controls are put in place to protect the athletes as well as the integrety of WADA and the anti-doping laws in the sports.

I am glad that Lance Armstrong has been exhonerated and I look forward to racing him at the New York City Marathon.

(Sources: BBC News & ESPN News)