IN ANNOUNCING his comeback last month, Lance Armstrong said he is more concerned about aiding the fight against cancer than winning races. But his noble intentions haven't stopped European cycling officials from attacking him. In the French newspaper L'Equipe last Saturday, Tour de France president Jean-Etienne Amaury said Armstrong, the target of doping allegations while winning seven Tours from 1999 to 2005, had "embarrassed" the race due to his "complicated history with it."
Amaury's comments followed an announcement by France's antidoping agency that it was willing to retest urine samples Armstrong submitted in 1999 to either back Armstrong's claims that he was clean or reports by L'Equipe that those samples tested positive for the banned performance-enhancer EPO in 2005. (There was no test for EPO in '99.)
Last week Armstrong scoffed at the idea of retesting, saying the samples have been compromised. He also hinted that the race that made his reputation might not fit into his plan to raise cancer awareness: "Nobody ever said that I need the Tour de France in order to try and achieve this."