US federal prosecutors are in France to obtain more evidence for their doping investigation linked to seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. Yesterday, they met with representatives from France, Spain and Italy at the international police headquarters, Interpol in Lyon.

The investigation intensified in April when Armstrong’s former team-mate, Floyd Landis alleged widespread doping use in the team. In the US, some of Armstrong’s former team-mates have testified in front of a grand jury. Armstrong’s long-time sponsors, Nike, Oakley and Trek, have also supplied information.

Food and Drug Administration criminal investigator Jeff Novitzky leads the investigation. His focus turned international on October 22 when he subpoenaed Armstrong’s team-mate, Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych.

Popovych rode on team Discovery Channel and helped Armstrong win his seventh consecutive Tour de France in July 2005. Armstrong asked Popovych to return to his side when he came back from retirement, first at team Astana last year and at team RadioShack this year.

He lives in Italy, but was subpoenaed when he was in Austin, Texas, for Armstrong’s Livestrong Challenge ride. He stayed in the US and testified on November 3 for 90 minutes.

Italian police raided Popovych’s home in Tuscany once he returned home one week ago on November 11. They seized mobile telephones and a computer, evidence they handed over to Novitzky yesterday in Lyon, according to Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Novitzky travelled to Europe with Assistant US attorney Doug Miller and US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart. They met with the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Their goal was to review evidence, including six of Armstrong’s urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France that showed traces of blood booster EPO and the discovery of banned medical equipment in a trash container during the last year’s Tour de France.

In addition to the Italians and French, yesterday the Americans also met with representatives from Spain’s Guardia Civil. The Spaniards are ready to send a strong signal after its largely unsuccessful Operación Puerto investigation. They are focused on two fronts for Novitzky: Armstrong’s former apartment in Girona, where Landis alleged blood was stored in a refrigerator, and Tenerife, the island where Armstrong trained.

Armstrong, 39, denies Landis’ allegations and that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his career. He completed his comeback to cycling this July at the Tour de France and announced last month that his last race outside of the US at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia, in January.

Related links

Armstrong’s team mate Popovych testifies he did not witness doping

Armstrong’s team-mate Popovych summonsed in doping investigation

Landis unlikely to stand trial for hacking says manager

Landis admits he doped and implicates others

Subscribe to Cycling Weekly: The perfect Christmas gift>>


  • milton

    dear mr mills many thanks for your imput . naive i may be , but to say that landis action is honest and decent has made even me smile .Just look at his latest performance .to think for one minute that Novitzky will be cyclings savior is really beyond fiction I spent over thirty years of my working life along side people like him and have no wish to ever go within 100 miles of such creatures ever again . i hold no tourch for either Armstong or Landis but I have even less patience with the lynch mob attitude of so many of the people on these forums i can not tell how long any of them have been cyclists very little time for some I suppose but the frenzied nastiness of these people make me go cold .the self appointed guardians of the sport are in my naive opinion fooling nobody .I would stand by my opinion that the UCI must be the only judges in this whole sorry business they have to stand up to the mark and take over before the whole thing goes pear shaped othewise the press will sound the death nell for pro cycle sport

  • A Mills

    My word! … Milton …. How naive you are!

    The train of events set in motion by Floyd Landis’s belated (but no less welcome) sense of decency and honesty (which is how he lived his life before getting caught up in Liestrong’s murky world), is the best news for a very long time. Cycling finally has a chance to make the changes that are needed to route out the doping cheats. Mark my words, Novitzky will be our saviour. Hats off to him, for stepping up to the mark … unlike the spineless UCI.

  • milton

    swordsman much of what you say is most impressive It would seem that we want the same thing ie the end of doping in sport .however i would take issue with your stance that cycling can only be cleansed by the intervention of outside agencies .this is far from certain, In 34 years of working with and in conjunction with Government force agencies I did not meet more than a handfull of officers that i would want as a neighbour their motives are not for the most part what you would suppose Believe me cycling dose not want the dead hand of the Government around its neck . the UCI and AOS are perhaps more tuned in than you think If you think that dragging Armstrong through the courts will help the matter you are much mistaken .the gutter press and the vast majority of non cycling fans will not applaud this as a positive move to clean up the sport but a confirmation of what they like to think that all cyclists dope .AS for the sponsors not leaving the sport , think of the ones who have already taken flight over mr Ricco and co they will be the tip of the iceberg.. Tocompare Novitsky with earp and ness is about right neither of those gentlemen were the saints that official history has painted them just dig a bit and you will see what i mean .If this whole thing drags along to the conclusion that many of the people on this forum wish then i fear that cycling will not recover for 20 years at least much as i respect your views i cannot agree with your endorsment of events The UCI MUST be the final arbiter of cycling matters .TO imagine that these agencies can succeed is way off the mark , in the decades that they have been fighting the drug menace they have only managed to succeed in trippling the use and supply of narcotics ,please do not imsgine that this is as they would have you believe due to underfunding and staffing i can assure you with some knowledge of the situation that this is not the case however I do hope a solution can soon be found .one that dose not destroy pro cycle sport.

  • theswordsman

    Milton, you obviously haven’t caught on yet that cycling can only be cleaned up from the outside. The ICU and ASO want to give the illusion of a clean sport without doing what is necessary to clean it up. It takes groups like the AFLD, and the Italians, and others who have no vested interest in the sport.

    There was some good information in this article. You’ve got the Americans, some French agencies, Italians, Spanish, and Belgians working together in conjunction with Interpol. What the investigation of Armstrong and others named by Landis will do is show the world just how huge the problem is, and has been. Rather than kill the sport, it could motivate all the various organizations to continue working together to fight the problem across sports. This is about going after the suppliers and breaking down the networks that make it so easy for young athletes to start down the wrong path. Novitsky is the good guy, the Wyatt Earp, the Elliot Ness, the guy who represents everyone else fighting doping this year. Getting bad people out of the sport forever is a good thing. The true cycling fans I interact with were excited this week.

  • milton

    how much more of this witch hunt that shoddy little creep Novitzky and his two parasites should crawl back to the good ol USA. I have little time for cheats but even less for the type of creature thatI see here . these people have spent their whole working lives causing people as much trouble as trhey can with their unerned power MY my friends in the states say that Novitzky is expected to run for office if he can gain enough media space from his posturing I have been a cyclist for 60 years and in all that time Ihave never been as fearfull for the future of the sport as I am now .if this sort of thing goes on much longer we will see the sponsers leave the sport in droves . this gentleman and his two henchmen should be seen off as soon as possible the sport has been duped into welcoming this sort of creature but the UCI should keep its house in order without the help of people of self interest. I know mt views will not go down well with the more vocal of contributers some of whom seem never to do any thing but write to this forum but perhaps a balance should be struck here .ban the cheats for life and keep out the novitzkys of this world cycling dose NOT need them

  • Ken Evans

    “….and the discovery of banned medical equipment
    in a trash container during the last year’s Tour de France.”

    DNA evidence ?

  • Mike

    Looks like the net is closing in, and surprisingly, it seems like a proper investigation rather than a token gesture.
    If the UCI can be kept away we may just learn the truth. At last.