French Minster for Sports Jouanno says Armstrong used banned substances, should admit it
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

French Minster for Sports Jouanno says Armstrong used banned substances, should admit it

by VeloNation Press at 7:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Wants AFLD to work on this year’s Tour

Chantal JouannoFrench sports minister Chantal Jouanno has said that she believes Lance Armstrong took banned products during his career, and that he should now admit to having done so.

“Lance Armstrong should be able to take on all responsibility, as Laurent Fignon had the courage to do so, acknowledging that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs and that they were probably the cause of the disease which he suffered,” she told the French newspaper Le Monde.

It is uncertain if she was referring to Fignon’s cancer, which killed him last August, or Armstrong’s earlier battle with the disease.

The American rider won seven Tours de France, but is currently under investigation by US federal agents, along with others connected to the US Postal Service team. They have been accused of using performance enhancing substances by former team-mate Floyd Landis, and VeloNation understands that others have also testified to this effect.

Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and others continue to deny Landis’ claims.

Jouanno has been French Minster of Sport since 2010, and is also a twelve-times national champion in judo. She is a close ally of President Sarkozy, who has been supportive of Armstrong.

The 41 year old commented on this year’s Tour de France, saying that she hopes the Alberto Contador situation is resolved by then.

“I do not understand why they took that risk,” she said, when asked about the support shown by the Spanish prime minister and others for the rider. “The product under investigation, Clenbuterol, is one which is totally banned, regardless of the level of concentration, and is very rare [in Europe – ed.].

“There is a process underway and I hope the Court of Arbitration for Sport will rule before the Tour de France. Otherwise, the Tour will once again polluted by this business.”

On the subject of the Tour de France, Jouanno is in favour of the French national anti-doping agency working on this year’s race. Previous tensions with the UCI meant that it was blocked by the UCI from being involved in the 2009 event, and it had a very limited role last year.

However more recently relations have improved between it and the UCI, and they collaborated on Paris-Nice. This has increased hope that it will have a role in July.

“It is completely ridiculous that the AFLD, which is an independent and recognized authority, can not do its controls over our own territory,” she said. “I hope that the AFLD can do the [anti-doping] controls on the next Tour de France. This is the only way to avoid suspicion.”
 

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