Sunday, November 28, 2010
(CBS/AP) U.S. investigators met with police officials at Interpol headquarters in Lyon on Wednesday as part of their probe into allegations of doping by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and other cyclists, a French newspaper reported.
The meeting, reported on the website of sports daily L'Equipe, followed talks Tuesday between U.S. Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky and French anti-doping officials.
L'Equipe said Wednesday's discussions in Lyon included Novitzky's team and police officers investigating doping in sports in France. The talks reportedly centered on a case dating back to the 2009 Tour de France involving Armstrong's former team Astana.
Armstrong's former teammate Alberto Contador won the 2009 Tour. Officials opened an investigation last year after the discovery of suspicious syringes during the race. Police questioned former Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel, former sporting director Alain Gallopin and the team's two doctors.
On Tuesday, the American delegation met with Francoise Lasne, the director of the French anti-doping agency's lab who co-pioneered the test for the performance enhancer EPO, and testing director Jean-Pierre Verdy. They were heard as witnesses at the headquarters of Interpol, the international police agency.
The American delegation is believed to include U.S. federal prosecutor Doug Miller and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart.
A French official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Tygart met former French anti-doping lab head Pierre Bordry earlier this summer to discuss the matter. Bordry resigned in September.
The official, who was speaking anonymously because the investigation is still ongoing, said Bordry met Tygart in Paris and that the "French anti-doping agency's general secretary (Robert Bertrand) also went to Colorado a few days ago to speak with him during a meeting of international anti-doping agencies."
The French official confirmed American legal authorities asked their French counterparts for cooperation on the case in September.
"The procedure is currently being implemented. At this point, no documents have been transmitted to the Americans. I would say we are making contact with them and everything is going perfectly," the official said. "But if we need to submit documents and other stuff, we will do it."
Also Wednesday, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that police officers from Spain's Guardia Civil, French police, and Italian police and customs officers, headed by public prosecutor Benedetto Roberti, first met at Interpol headquarters at the end of July.
Novitzky's investigation was sparked by disgraced 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis' allegations that Armstrong and members of his former U.S. Postal team systematically doped.
L'Equipe reported days after the 2005 Tour finished that Armstrong's samples from the 1999 Tour contained traces of EPO. Armstrong, who retired in '05 before coming back for the '09 and '10 Tours, has repeatedly denied allegations he doped.
"The samples were clean when originally provided and tested," Mark Fabiani, an attorney for Armstrong, said in a statement sent to the AP on Tuesday. "So we have nothing to be concerned about. Period."