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UCI: Tour de France tests negative
Posted: Friday July 30, 1999 06:26 PM
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- All the tests for banned substances were found to be negative in this year's Tour de France, the world cycling's governing body said Friday.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) said it carried out tests during every stage of the race and there were no positive results.
The three-week race was won by American Lance Armstrong, who made a remarkable comeback from cancer. The Texan was dogged by rumors that his success was helped by illegal drugs.
UCI said for the first time it also tested for corticosteroids, which are illegal under certain circumstances but can be permitted if the rider has a medical certificate.
The organization had said earlier that Armstrong had shown traces of corticosteroids but this had been caused by a skin cream he was using legally.
UCI also carried out blood tests on all the riders on the first day of racing and tested individual teams on other days to measure the level of red blood cells, or hematocrit.
High levels are treated as an indication that riders have been taken the banned hormone EPO. There is no test for EPO but riders with a hematocrit level above 50 percent are given a two-week compulsory rest period because the level is considered dangerous.
"All the tests were within the levels fixed by UCI, and we are pleased to note that the levels tended to fall during the course of the race. This is totally natural," said a UCI statement.
The organization also took breath samples from all the riders to test for PFC -- hemoglobin which speeds up oxygen intake -- it said.The results are not yet available, and UCI stressed that the PFC tests were only carried out to see how widespread the use of the substance was.
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