Report: Two ex-Armstrong teammates admit using EPO

Updated: September 12, 2006, 10:53 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Two of Lance Armstrong's former teammates said they used a performance-enhancing drug when they were getting ready for the 1999 Tour de France, according to a newspaper report.

Frankie Andreu, a 39-year-old former team captain, and another teammate who requested anonymity because he still works in cycling, told The New York Times they used EPO in preparation for the 1999 race, when Armstrong won the first of his seven titles in cycling's biggest race.

"There are two levels of guys," Andreu said in a story published on the newspaper's Web site Monday night. "You got the guys that cheat and guys that are just trying to survive."

Andreu said he took EPO for a few races and is admitting the use now because he's worried doping is having a negative effect on the sport.

Neither of the teammates ever had a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs. Both said they never saw Armstrong take any banned substances.

Armstrong, who overcame testicular cancer to win the Tour a record seven consecutive times, faced constant doping allegations toward the end of his career. He has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Floyd Landis, a former Armstrong teammate, won the Tour de France this year before it was announced that he tested positive for elevated testosterone and synthetic testosterone after one of the Tour stages. Landis has denied using any performance-enhancing drugs.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said he did not understand Andreu's objectives in revealing that he had used EPO.

"If Andreu wishes to say that, that's up to him to say that," McQuaid told The AP by telephone. "I don't know what he's trying to achieve because he cannot achieve anything by saying this."

McQuaid said neither admission should cast doubt on Armstrong's record or his 1999 Tour victory.

"To take dope is an individual decision by an individual rider," McQuaid said, noting that most cases of cheating occur through contacts with doctors outside of the sport.

"Do people point the finger at any of the other Phonak riders because of what Landis is alleged to have done?" he said.

On Monday, Landis' attorney disputed the accuracy of the tests performed on the cyclist's urine sample at a lab in France.

McQuaid didn't want to address Landis' "position at the moment," but defended the way the tests were conducted.

"There would be no reason to doubt the laboratory," he said, adding that the French lab is "of the highest integrity and quality."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press