The Tour de France's director has accused seven-time champion Lance Armstrong of the United States of deceiving the sports world after a French newspaper reported he tested positive for the banned drug EPO.
Jean-Marie LeBlanc praised the French newspaper L'Equipe for offering what he called proven scientific facts that Armstrong had the endurance-boosting drug in his system when he won his first Tour de France in 1999.
The newspaper reported Tuesday that six urine samples provided by Armstrong in 1999 tested positive for EPO. However, the French national lab said it could not confirm the positive tests were Armstrong's. The lab said all testing was done anonymously, but the newspaper claimed that it matched the test results to other documents containing Armstrong's identification number.
French Sports Minister Jean-Francois Lamour said that he could not confirm L'Equipe's report because he had not seen the originals of some of the documents the paper published.
Armstrong has consistently denied using performance-enhancing drugs. The cyclist said on his Internet site that L'Equipe's report was "nothing short of tabloid journalism." Armstrong retired from cycling after winning his seventh consecutive Tour de France title in July.
Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.