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Lab chief: Lance Armstrong’s 2001 test was suspicious, not a failure

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Lance Armstrong’s contentious 2001 Tour of Switzerland drug test was suspicious, but wasn’t proof of EPO doping, even by today’s stringent standards, the laboratory chief who oversaw the procedure has told AFP.

That test taken 11 years ago forms part of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) damning dossier which has condemned the seven-time Tour de France winner as being at the the heart of sport’s biggest ever doping conspiracy.

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Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, two of Armstrong’s teammates testified that the Texan rider had admitted to testing positive at the race in Switzerland but boasted of the result being covered-up.

“There was no positive test on the Tour of Switzerland in 2001,” said Martial Saugy, the director of the Lausanne laboratory which conducted the tests.

However, the laboratory did flag up that three tests, one of which later was revealed to be Armstrong’s, had been judged to be “suspect”, just on the borderline of a positive result in that era.

Saugy is adamant that if the USADA believe this to represent a positive test, then it would be an opinion which would be hard to back up legally.

“There’s no way today that this could be defended as a positive result, it’s impossible,” added Saugy.

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“Since 2003, procedures oblige to take into account the risks of a false-positive which could verify that urine had not been affected by the physiology of the cyclist or degraded by bacteria.

“This was not done at the time and the urine no longer exists because the rules did not require keeping it.”

Furthermore, the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn an EPO test on Danish rider Bo Hamburger on appeal — on the grounds that the probability of a positive test was not sufficient — means that laboratories and federations have become more cautious in their procedures.

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“Armstrong had another suspect result during the 2002 Dauphine Libere. The politics of the UCI at that time, if there was such a result involving an important competitor, was to meet them and ask for an explanation,” claimed Saugy.

“That was their approach to prevention.”

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“The UCI said to me at the end of June 2002: ‘we warned the rider for whom you had a suspect result in 2001, he gave another suspect return at another lab and he would like to know by which method it was tested’.

“The rider was Armstrong. It was then that I learned about it.”

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Andrew Cuomo threatens to bail on CNN interview when his brother shows vintage photo of governor in bellbottoms

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) appeared to feign anger during a CNN interview Wednesday in which his brother, Christopher Cuomo, showed a vintage photo of their family with the elder brother clad in bellbottoms, a rhinestone belt and an unfortunate attempt at an afro.

The younger Cuomo is still suffering from the effects of coronavirus, appearing redfaced and wiping his brow. However, his brother noted that he seemed more animated than he has in days.

"Now I've seen you referred to a little bit recently as the 'Love Gov' and I'm wondering if that's making you a little soft on the president, that you don't want to really criticize him, because you need him and now's not a time for fighting," said the younger Cuomo. "But don't you have to balance that with calling him out if he's doing things that you don't think are great for the people of your state to be hearing and experiencing? Love Gov?"

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Fox News hosts are going back to downplaying threat from coronavirus: report

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Major Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity spent weeks assuring viewers that the novel coronavirus wasn't a serious threat. In recent weeks, however, they have shifted to a different narrative, acknowledging that the virus is dangerous but giving President Donald Trump credit for taking action and criticizing Democrats' lack of action — even though many Democrats, in fact, warned the pubic first.

But according to The Daily Beast, even as there is no clear end to the crisis in sight, and even as the U.S. crosses 13,000 deaths, many Fox News hosts are going back to downplaying the virus, either telling viewers it wasn't as bad as advertised and urging the president to end public safety measures against it.

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The dangers of Trump TV: MSNBC host hammers Fox News as ‘genuine public health threat’ amid pandemic

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Tuesday night, Fox News decided that all anyone needed to do is to pump Americans with a Malaria drug and send them back to work to save President Donald Trump's economy.

Speaking Wednesday night, MSNBC host Chris Hayes bashed the conservative network for downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus, saying that they are "a genuine public health threat."

While Trump has advisers like Dr. Anthony Fauci, he also has the unofficial advisers he sees on Fox News.

They "are coalescing around the idea the whole thing is just overblown and we need to pump everyone full of the malaria drug and get them back to work. This is what you heard if you watch trump tv just last night," Hayes said. He then played clips illustrating exactly that, with hosts ranting and raving about the virus not being as serious as the flu.

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