Now, French anti-doping official claims ‘Armstrong was tipped off before drug tests’

London: Lance Armstrong, who withdrew from contesting the doping charges made by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), has reportedly been accused by a French anti-doping official of being regularly tipped off before taking any drug test.

Michael Rieu, a scientific advisor at France’s national anti-doping body, claimed that Armstrong was given 20 minutes notice before tests, giving the American valuable time to make “manipulations”.

“The testers found it difficult to carry out checks without Lance Armstrong benefitting from a delay of 20 minutes. He was warned before any controls. In 20 minutes, a lot of manipulations are possible. Without information from police or customs, it was impossible to fight this way,” a daily quoted Rieu, as saying.

Rieu said Armstrong had many supporters within the sport.

“This support went beyond the UCI (International Cycling Union) and the International Olympic Committee. Armstrong was surrounded by scientific physiologists some of (whom) were discarded later. He had considerable resources to protect and implement logistics,” he said.

Armstrong was given a lifetime ban from professional cycling and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after he declined to fight the dope charges made by the USADA and said that he would not seek any settlement from the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding his case.