The Australian physician who guided the lab which found the Lance Armstrong 'controversial' positive EPO in 1999, harbors deep concern about the LA Comeback Tour. To the Herald-Sun.
Dr Michael Ashenden, whose analysis of Armstrong's urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France allegedly revealed that the cyclist used the blood-boosting drug EPO during the race, said too many people in Australia had been "dazzled" by Armstrong's "star power".
"It surprises me that the Tour is willing to embrace such a controversial figure," Ashenden said.
"It surprises me in the wider context that there hasn't been more adverse reaction to his proposal to come back."
There has been adverse reaction to the LACT (Lance Armstrong Comeback Tour), which is muted. However note that LA stands to make a little currency and enjoy alot of publicity off the LACT.
The International Cycling Union last week ruled Armstrong could take part in the Tour Down Under, despite the cyclist not complying with a six-month drug testing program in the lead-up to the January event.
"People are dazzled by the star factor and they are not pausing to really reflect on what this is all about and whether or not it would be good for the sport," Dr Ashenden said.
He also questioned Armstrong's motives in appointing prominent anti-doping scientist Don Catlin to his team.
This is the first major medical professional to question Catlin's role in the LACT. Of course Catlin is violating a major tenet of science -- objectivity. Sadly he points to his reputation -- which although good -- is not a part of the standard of objective lab testing.
"Everyone recognises that this is prone to abuse. If Don Catlin finds EPO he can't do anything about it," Dr Ashenden said.
Tour de France champion Greg Lemond also questioned the point of self-policing by cycling teams, and said Armstrong must do more if he was to prove he is 100 per cent clean.
"It's like a wolf guarding a hen house. You've got to have a group with no self-interest," Lemond said.