ARMSTRONG CLEARED IN L'EQUIPE AFFAIRE

Lance Armstrong has been cleared of taking EPO in the 1999 Tour de France, but the investigation that saved his reputation has sparked yet another war of words between cycling and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The 130-page report produced by Dutch doping lawyer Emile Vrijman was commissioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale last autumn and was supposed to shed light on the allegations made by French newspaper L?Equipe that blood samples taken in 1999, and then retested in 2004 as part of a research programme, showed that Armstrong and other riders had taken EPO.

However, the report failed to get to the bottom of the accusations and instead seems to favour the UCI and openly discredit WADA and the lab that carried out the testing.

Vrijman said that neither L?Equipe, the French minister of sport, or the Paris lab had helped the investigation, but recommended that ?no action be taken against the riders based on the testing,?? because the results were achieved as part of a research programme that lacked clear rules of control and did not include permission from the riders for the retro-analysis of their samples.

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