Lance Armstrong received help from cycling’s governing body to beat drug tests, according to US Anti-Doping Agency CEO, Travis Tygart.

The UCI, said Tygart in a televised 60 Minutes interview, arranged a meeting in 2002 between a lab director and Armstrong to provide information about EPO testing.

“As far as we are aware,” Tygart said on Wednesday, “it is totally inappropriate to bring an athlete who had a suspicious test and explain to them how the test works”.

The UCI arranged a meeting with Armstrong, team manager Johan Bruyneel and Lausanne laboratory director, Martial Saugy. It came the year after Armstrong allegedly tested positive for EPO at the Tour of Switzerland.

“Saugy sat down next to me and said, ‘Travis, in fact, there were samples from Lance Armstrong that indicated EPO use’,” explained Tygart.

“He also told us that he had been ordered by the UCI to meet Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel to explain the method of detecting EPO.

“And I asked him, ‘Did you give Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel the keys to defeat the EPO test?’ And he nodded his head ‘yes’.”

Saugy admitted in the past to meeting Armstrong and Bruyneel about EPO testing. Overnight, Swiss Cycling President Richard Chassot defended Saugy and the Lausanne laboratory.

“In many cases, like the [Floyd] Landis affair, they haven’t been afraid to put themselves in danger. Martial Saugy is a serious guy, who often has taken a strong position against doping,” Chassot told Swiss newspaper, 20 Minutes.

“Regarding the samples tested, only numbers are on a tube. At the laboratory in Lausanne, they couldn’t say to themselves ‘This is Armstrong’s sample, he can’t be positive.’ If something happened, it’s at UCI level.”

Also in 2002, Armstrong donated $125,000 to the UCI. The sports body said part of the money was used to support anti-doping in the junior ranks and around $100,000 was used to by a Sysmex testing machine.

“It has been stated or reported that Lance Armstrong said to his colleagues that the UCI sorted a [positive anti-doping] sample out for him,” UCI President Pat McQuaid explained in September. “He may have said that, but you have to ask him why he said that. But there are no facts to back up that.”

McQuaid said that the donation did not create a conflict of interest. He added, “If it were to happen today, we would treat it differently and state it differently”.

Tygart revealed on Wednesday that Armstrong also tried to donate $250,000 [£155,000] to the US agency in 2004.

“I was stunned,” Tygart said. “It was clear conflict of interest for USADA. We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer.”

Related links

Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey raises doubts

Bets taken on the words Lance Armstrong will use during TV interview

Lance Armstrong to talk to Oprah Winfrey about doping

Comment: Don’t get too excited about an Armstrong confession

Is Lance Armstrong on the verge of doping confession?

  • Robert

    Bottom line is that Armstrong, the UCI and the lab were all a party, one way or another, to the ‘greatest fraud in the history of sport’. For the full background search for the paper ‘The Armstrong Triangle’ by Michael Ashenden. This shows, amongst much else, that the UCI used Armstrong’s money to buy a Sysmex machine for use by the lab. There was obviously a very cosy relationship between all three parties…

    Quote: I have seen the XT-2000i analyser in question, my recollection is that it was mid- to late-2006. I still have a photo of it sitting atop its transport container. According to the metal plate on the rear of the machine it was manufactured in December 2004, with serial number 28BZ0193. As well as an identification tag linked to the Lausanne laboratory (LAD-AP 1032), there was also a sticker on the lower right hand corner from Digitana, a local Swiss dealer whom I believe the instrument was purchased through.

    I was told in 2006 by a staff member at the Lausanne laboratory that they had been given free use of the Sysmex analyser by the UCI. This seems consistent with the Lausanne laboratory having affixed what appeared to me to be some form of an ‘inventory label’ onto the machine (i.e., LAD-AP 1032 where ‘LAD’ is the acronym by which the laboratory is generally known).

  • barry

    This has now been denied in a press conference in Swiss today.. Wonder if Pat had anything to do with it ?????

  • Ken Evans

    “And I asked him, ‘Did you give Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel the keys to defeat the EPO test?’ And he nodded his head ‘yes’.”—–Something needs to change at the UCI, or the UCI needs to be replaced, the UCI shouldn’t be able to fix the results of races. Meanwhile the clean GB racers were denied the chance to compete in races at all, because of one-rider-per-event, and reduced number of endurance events in the 2012 Olympics. McQuaid is tainted, I hope that Armstrong points the finger of blame towards Switzerland.

  • paul

    Glad more details are emerging all the time, for me Armstrong is far from the only villain here. He needed massive organised help from the very top level to get away with his cheating for so long and the weak governing body, the UCI, the organisation that has consistently and historically failed to get any grasp on doping, or admit that there has been systemic abuse for decades, has to ultimately take responsibility for what state cycling is in now. I dont trust Lance, but at least he is not now competing, other athletes are, and with the weak, AND APPARENTLY COLLABATORY UCI, how to the hell can cycling move forward.

    Wholesale change at the top is what we need or history will just keep repeating itself.

  • J-Wagon

    ‘Pat McQuaid explained in September. “He may have said that, but you have to ask him why he said that. But there are no facts to back up that.”‘

    That’s not that different from saying, “I never failed a test”…