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Thursday, 1 February, 2001, 23:34 GMT
Armstrong team agrees to test
Armstrong's team agrees to blood test analysis
Armstrong's team agrees to blood test analysis
The US Postal team of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong have asked for independent analysis of blood samples from last year's race.

The team say they are more than happy to put names to anonymous test results after cycling's governing body, the UCI, received a request from the French authorities.

"We have no reason to hide any of the facts that might be uncovered through the analysis," said team manager Mark Gorski.

The development is the latest move in a French investigation into whether Armstrong and his team-mates used the drug Actovegin during last year's Tour de France.

The substance can enhance the oxygen-carrying capability of blood. Although legal during last summer's race, it has since been banned.

In the interest of fairness and objectivity, we have requested an independent expert
  Mark Gorski
US Postal have admitted bringing the drug into France but insist the only employee to use it was a non-riding diabetic staff member.

Armstrong has been involved in a row with the French since the investigation began and has said it is "unfortunate that the biggest bike race in the world is in France".

During last summer's event the UCI took blood tests from all riders, which are now being used anonymously for research purposes.

Gorski said US Postal were delighted to co-operate with the French request.

"We completely support an expedient and thorough analysis of any important information related to the ongoing investigation," he said.

"In the interest of fairness and objectivity, we have requested that an independent expert of our own choosing be appointed to assist in the analysis."

Heras row

In a separate row Gorski confirmed that the UCI had been invited to intervene in the row over the transfer of Tour of Spain winner Roberto Heras to US Postal.

The Kelme team say US Postal have yet to pay what is effectively a transfer fee for the Spanish rider.

Kelme say they agreed that their American rivals pay $1m (670,000) rather than the $1.4m buy-out fee they could demand for the two years left on Heras' contract.

The Spanish team are angered at US Postal's failure to pay this figure by 25 January, a deadline which they say was agreed when Heras moved teams.

Kelme also accuse the American team of wanting to pay in three annual instalments, which they say is unsatisfactory.

Gorski believes "it's just a matter of working out the terms of the payment" and is confident of a UCI solution.

But Kelme are refusing to renegotiate and say they will block the transfer until the fee is paid.

"It is not in our hands. A debt can only be resolved by the person that owes it", said Kelme general director Joan Mas.

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See also:

24 Jan 01 |  Other Sports
Tour 2001 teams named
16 Jan 01 |  Other Sports
Armstrong on the warpath
09 Jan 01 |  Other Sports
Spain's not a pain for Armstrong
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