Armstrong, U.S. Postal team refuse to appear for French summons

Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2002

PARIS (AP) -- Three-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong did not answer a summons in a French inquiry into whether his U.S. Postal Service team used doping products during the 2000 Tour.

Armstrong and nine teammates had been summoned to appear Tuesday before investigators seeking additional information in connection with an inquiry into whether the 2000 team violated anti-doping rules. The Texan cyclist notified investigators he would not show up, according to his lawyer, Georges Kiejman.

Armstrong ''refuses to be a guinea pig for any experts who want to make a name in legal medicine,'' Kiejman said Wednesday.

Le Parisien newspaper, which first reported the story Wednesday, said the other team members also failed to appear.

U.S. Postal says it respects anti-doping rules, and Armstrong, who last year won his third straight Tour de France, repeatedly denied taking banned substances. He has never failed a drug test, but in France he has been dogged by suspicions of doping.

A judicial official speaking on customary condition of anonymity said the team's refusal to appear was blocking the investigation.

Francois Franchi, the assistant to the Paris prosecutor handling the inquiry, said in October that tests on blood and urine samples taken from the team at the 2000 Tour had not revealed any evidence of doping.

Investigating Judge Sophie-Helene Chateau had asked the cyclists to turn their medical files over to a court-appointed expert who wanted to check for products that might have been used to conceal any evidence of doping, the judicial officials said.

The inquiry, opened in November 2000, seeks to determine whether the U.S. Postal team violated a 1999 law concerning the prevention and suppression of the use of doping products.



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