Armstrong: Coach will decide leader of Astana

Updated: September 25, 2008, 7:04 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- The anti-doping expert charged with monitoring Lance Armstrong said Thursday he would test the seven-time Tour de France winner for "everything" and keep frozen samples of Armstrong's blood to be analyzed in the future.

Don Catlin, who ran the first anti-doping lab in the United States at UCLA for 25 years, said testing details, including costs, still must be worked out with Astana, the Kazakhstan-based team that will pay for it.

But he expressed confidence the program would be complete in testing for banned substances.

"Everything that you've heard, and then probably some new ones," Catlin told The Associated Press after appearing with Armstrong in Las Vegas.

"I'm going further and I'm doing it because it's important for the world to recognize how to do these personalized anti-doping programs," Catlin said.

He runs Anti-Doping Research, a nonprofit organization he founded to research performance-enhancing drugs, uncover new drugs being used illegally and develop tests to detect them.

Catlin said it's crucial that Armstrong's results be made public, giving others a chance to judge them for themselves.

"It's the only reason I'm there," Catlin said. "It's going to be good for cycling and sport; it's never been done before."

Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond immediately criticized the plan, saying Catlin's testing methods were outdated and the team's funding created a conflict of interest.

As LeMond questioned Catlin about testing for oxygen intake, power output and other indicators, Armstrong interrupted.

"We are here to talk about a few things -- the global cancer campaign, my comeback to cycling," Armstrong said. "I appreciate your being here, but it's time for everyone here to move on."

"So the whole history has just been passed over?" said LeMond, who later met with Catlin to discuss testing.

Armstrong is determined to silence those who doubt he could win seven consecutive Tours without the help of performance-enhancing drugs. He said he asked Astana to pay for the testing since he's not being paid to ride for the team.

Pat McQuaid, president of the international cycling federation, welcomed Armstrong's attempts to prove he's clean.

"He will be in our biological passport program, the program with Astana. He cannot be any more transparent than that," McQuaid said. "If you need to show to the world that everything is in good order, this is the way to do it."

Armstrong has agreed to ride five races for Astana, including the Tour, the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia, in January and the Amgen Tour of California in February.

He played down the possibility of tension with new teammate Alberto Contador, the 2007 Tour champ.

"I certainly hope he stays with the team," Armstrong said. "I think he's a great rider and a great guy."

Armstrong said he doesn't expect to be the Astana team leader if he's not the best rider, adding close friend and Astana team director Johan Bruyneel will make that decision.

"I certainly would not expect to be the leader in any race if I were not the best man," Armstrong said.

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Associated Press writer Raf Casert in Varese, Italy contributed to this report.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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