Things become so complicated. Earlier this week, the French anti-doping agency 'offered' to retest that nasty 1999 Lance Armstrong disputed alleged EPO positive urine test. And now Armstrong answers in Cycling Weekly:
Lance Armstrong has rejected the offer by the head of the French Anti-doping agency, Pierre Bordry, to retest his urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France.
Bordry yesterday offered to retest the samples according to L'Equipe newspaper as of a way to prove Armstrong's good faith and dispel accusations made by the L'Equipe newspaper that the samples may contain traces of the banned blood booster EPO.
In a written statement, Armstrong sidestepped the offer by claiming that an independent investigation instigated by the UCI had said the 1999 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.”
“There is simply nothing that I can agree to that would provide any relevant evidence about 1999,” Armstrong added in his statement.
Armstrong also pointed out that the “the Independent Investigation concluded that the French laboratory, the French Ministry of Sport, and Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, all behaved improperly with respect to the 1999 Tour de France samples.”
Obviously Armstrong will reject an offer to retest his sample. What does he have to gain? Not much whatever the new outcome; there will continue to be doping accusations against the 7-time Tour de France winner. What can he lose? He could lose more of his reputation if the sample turned up positive. However the French answer (BBC Sport)
Pierre Bordry gave him the opportunity to have samples taken during the 1998 and 1999 Tours de France retested.
But the seven-time Tour champion refused to consent to the new tests.
"If the analysis is clean it would have been very good for him. But he doesn't want to do it and that's his problem," Bordry told BBC Sport.
"It was a good opportunity for him to answer positively to my proposition, because if he is clean, as he says, I am ready to follow him."
The American, who has always vigorously denied any wrongdoing, has announced he will return to the sport in 2009 after an absence of more than three years.
Armstrong, who would have to give his permission for tests on any sample older than eight years, gave a terse response to Bordry's invitation to prove he had "never cheated in his brilliant career".
As a reminder, here is the collection of samples that reportedly turned out an Armstrong positive for EPO:
The urine samples in question have been the subject of speculation ever since French newspaper L'Equipe reported in 2005 that six B samples contained the banned substance EPO - a blood-boosting hormone that enhances endurance.
Drug-testing protocol dictates that blood or urine is divided into A and B samples and both must show traces of the banned substance for a test to be declared positive. Cycling did not have a robust test for EPO until 2001.
And nothing settled...