Big stories buzzing about alleged evidence that Lance Armstrong was doping in 1999 (during 1st TdF victory). No judgments either way here, but waiting to see what unfolds.
The complete text of Lance Armstrong's statement, which was posted on his official Web site late Monday:
"Yet again, a European newspaper has reported that I have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Tomorrow's L'Equipe, a French sports daily, is reporting that my 1999 samples were positive. Unfortunately, the witch hunt continues and tomorrow's article is nothing short of tabloid journalism.
The paper even admits in its own article that the science in question here is faulty and that I have no way to defend myself. They state: "There will therefore be no counter-exam nor regulatory prosecutions, in a strict sense, since defendant's rights cannot be respected."
I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance enhancing drugs."
UPDATE 8.24 Morning: "The director of the Tour de France claims Lance Armstrong has "fooled" the sports world and that the seven-time champion owes fans an explanation over new allegations he used a performance-boosting drug."
UPDATE 8.24 Evening: Lance said today, "But to say that I've fooled the fans is preposterous. I've been doing this a long time. We have not just one year of only 'B' samples; we have seven years of 'A' and 'B' samples. They've all been negative," he said during a conference call from Washington, D.C."
UPDATE 8.25 at SportsIllustrated.com: "It doesn't surprise me at all that they have samples. Clearly they've tested all of my samples since then to the highest degree. But when I gave those samples," he said, referring to 1999, "there was not EPO in those samples. I guarantee that."
UPDATE 8.25 at Sportsline.com: "There's a setup here and I'm stuck in the middle of it," Armstrong told the Associated Press. "I absolutely do not trust that laboratory."
UPDATE 8.26 from Larry King Live: "If you consider my situation: a guy who comes back from arguably, you know, a death sentence, why would I then enter into a sport and dope myself up and risk my life again? That's crazy. I would never do that. No. No way."
UPDATE 8.26: "Lance Armstrong received strong backing Friday from cycling's domestic governing body, which said accusations against the seven-time Tour de France champion are "completely without credibility."