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Armstrong's samples showed steroid use in 1999, UCI says

Updated: 2013-04-19 08:20
By Agencies in Paris and Austin, Texas ( China Daily)

Lance Armstrong returned four samples with traces of banned corticosteroids in the 1999 Tour de France, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Wednesday, although the governing body added it did not handle them as positive tests.

On Tuesday, the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad published a copy of an alleged internal UCI memo that said a lawyer for the sport's ruling body had said the American's samples from the 1999 showed traces of corticosteroids on four occasions.

Armstrong, who has been banned for life and admitted to doping his way to seven consecutive Tour titles from 1999-2005, had already admitted to using corticosteroids for a saddle sore in 1999, although he produced a back-dated Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) to justify the use of a banned substance.

"During the Tour, Armstrong was tested 15 times. In the four samples indicated below traces of triamcinolone, a corticosteroid, were found. No other prohibited substances were found," the UCI said, adding that the samples in question were collected on July 4, 14, 15 and 21.

Armstrong's samples showed steroid use in 1999, UCI says

The governing body said the French Ministry of Sports also ruled that no doping offense had been committed.

"The samples taken during the 1999 Tour de France were analyzed by the French National Anti-Doping Laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry," the UCI said.

"The French Ministry came to the conclusion that there had been no anti-doping rule violation. In a conversation with the UCI's Dr Schattenberg at the time, the French Ministry doctor confirmed that the presence of traces of corticosteroids found in samples taken from Armstrong was compatible with the use of a skin cream; that the use of a skin cream was accepted as proven by the French Ministry; and that there was therefore no anti-doping rule violation.

"If the corticosteroids had been used systemically (ie injected or taken orally), the consecutive test results would have all been positive."

The UCI agreed and said that "both the French Ministry and the UCI Anti-doping Commission found that there was conclusive evidence that no anti-doping rule violation had taken place".

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Armstrong has purchased an Austin-area home just days after he sold his luxury Spanish-style estate he has lived in since 2006.

The Austin American-Statesman described the home as being located in an exclusive sub-division. The newspaper did not reveal the purchase price, but Austin real estate agents said it was valued at about $4.3 million.

There was also no record of whether Armstrong took out a bank loan to pay for the house, the American-Statesman said.

Last week, Armstrong sold his central Austin home for an undisclosed price. He bought the 7,850-square-foot home in 2004 and spent two years fixing it up.

Armstrong sold the property to Texas oilman, Al Koehler.

The house was listed at $10 million, but Koehler said he got it for less.

Armstrong's fortune is estimated at between $60 million and $110 million, but he is facing a series of lawsuits that could cost him dearly.

(China Daily 04/19/2013 page23)

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