Armstrong Sample To Be Tested

Lance Armstrong waves on the podium as he retains the yellow jersey after the 15th stage of the Tour de France. AP

French courts have moved ahead with plans to test urine samples taken from Lance Armstrong and his teammates during last year's Tour de France, a judicial source said.

The urine samples have been undergoing analysis to determine whether the riders took performance-enhancing drugs, according to the source, who is close to the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. Three experts have been designated to perform the tests, and judicial officials are waiting for the results.

In December, French Sports Minister Marie-George Buffet refused to comply with a request from cycling's governing body to destroy the frozen urine samples because judicial authorities wanted them for an investigation of Armstrong's team.

Armstrong came back from testicular cancer to win the 1999 and 2000 Tours. He has repeatedly denied taking illegal substances, and U.S. Postal Service officials have said the team respects anti-doping rules.

Based on an anonymous tip, judicial authorities opened a preliminary investigation in November into whether the team used banned substances during the Tour.

The urine samples were taken from Tour riders in July and frozen in anticipation of International Olympic Committee approval for an EPO urine test developed by a French laboratory.

EPO, or erythropoietin, enhances endurance by boosting the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells. The substance was at the heart of the drug scandal at the 1998 Tour de France.

Although the IOC approved a combined blood and urine test for the Sydney Olympics, it has not approved a urine-only test.


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