AFLD will hand over Armstrong’s 1999 samples, but process just starting
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

AFLD will hand over Armstrong’s 1999 samples, but process just starting

by Shane Stokes at 6:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
French anti-doping agency wants to be part of 2011 Tour de France

AFLDLast September, former AFLD head Pierre Bordry said that the French anti-doping agency AFLD would co-operate fully with the US federal investigation into the US Postal Service team. “If the U.S. attorneys and the U.S. Agency ask us for something in the context of a judicial mutual assistance, we will of course do so,” he said then.

In November this was echoed by an unnamed AFLD official, who said that the agency would share "everything we know, everything we have, in the fridges, in the freezers, everything, everywhere.” He added that they are prepared to answer "everything that they ask.”

According to Le Monde, federal investigators have indeed made that request, but it appears that a delay may exist in handing over what has been asked for. “Every citizen must answer to justice when approached by it,” said the new AFLD chief Bruno Genevois, who took over from Bordry last October.

“I promise that in time the AFLD will comply with the Convention on Mutual Assistance Franco-American. But for now, the procedure of the international rogatory commission (request to transfer evidence – ed.) has only just begun.”

The Le Monde interview was an excerpt of a much longer piece to feature in the paper tomorrow. The paper makes it clear that Genevois is talking about Lance Armstrong’s 1999 Tour de France samples, which L’Equipe alleged in 2005 contained traces of EPO. No sanction was ultimately taken against the rider, as there was no corresponding A sample to back up the results of the B test.

It remains to be seen if the US federal investigators have also requested samples from Armstrong and other US Postal Service riders after 1999. The investigation was partly sparked off by former US Postal Service rider Floyd Landis’ allegations last spring that there was widespread doping on the team.

That investigation is ongoing, and federal agents are understood to have spoken to current and former team-mates of Armstrong, as well as his ex-wife.

Meanwhile Genevois has confirmed that the AFLD and UCI are working to mend their relationship, and that the agency hoped to be part of the testing process at this year’s Tour de France.

“A dialogue is ongoing. A negotiation is underway, it (the UCI-AFLD relationship) is not permanently stabilized but I feel we’ve progressed,” he said. The AFLD performed testing at the 2008 Tour de France and caught several high profile riders, including Riccardo Riccò, Bernhard Kohl, Stefan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli, but subsequently fell out with the UCI.

Genevois emphasised that a better relationship was needed. “I hope the AFLD is present at the 2011 Tour de France, in circumstances that remain to be discussed. The UCI and the AFLD must work together to make the best possible controls. We want to install a sincere cooperation. Last year, the AFLD was not authorised to perform additional testing.”

WADA did however declare that the AFLD had the right to request that the UCI carry out extra tests on riders it suspected of breaking the rules.

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