The French Anti-Doping Authority (AFLD) has offered Lance Armstrong a chance to retest his urine samples from the 1999 Tour – which, according to French newspaper L?Equipe allegedly contained traces of EPO.

?Mr Armstrong is a great champion,? AFLD boss Pierre Bordry told French newspaper L?Equipe on Wednesday, ?Everybody can understand how someone like him would want to come back to the Tour again.”

“I would like that comeback to be in the best possible conditions, so I would suggest that we do a complete analysis of the six urine samples taken in the 1999 Tour.That would perhaps give him the chance to affirm he never cheated during his brilliant career.?

L?Equipe alleged back in 2005 that the 1999 samples, taken during the first of Armstrong’s seven Tours victories, contained traces of EPO. Armstrong has always categorically denied all allegations of doping.

Bordry added that the Paris laboratory which had carried out the testing had confirmed to him that Armstrong?s samples had been conserved in the correct conditions, and that if Armstrong wished the new tests would be carried out in the presence of an expert nominated by the Texan.

He even said that if necessary the tests could be carried out in another WADA-accredited laboratory, not the one in Paris which produced the alleged positives.

Following the French offer, the ball is now in Armstrong?s court, although there was no immediate reaction from the American and his staff.

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