To quote Gordon Farquhar at the BBC:
“Armstrong is an accomplished liar. Serious questions remain over the analysis of blood tests taken from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 following his comeback. Usada says the tests "built a compelling argument consistent with blood doping. Armstrong has not yet admitted to doping on his return to the sport in 2009. Wada president John Fahey doesn't buy Armstrong's assertion that he was clean during his comeback. Tests were carried out on 38 of his blood samples from that time by the Australian Institute of Sport, which concluded that the chances of the blood values recorded occurring naturally were one in a million. The tests were not part of the recognised anti-doping programme, but Fahey wants Armstrong under oath again on this”.
I couldn’t agree more. In his Oprah interview Armstrong makes the case that the sport is cleaner and it is harder to cheat because of out-of-competition testing and the athlete biological passport. Yet as I have said on this blog before, his blood samples in 2009 and 2010 were highly suspicious. The data that makes them suspicious (plasma volume, reticulocyte count) are the same that would raise warnings on the passport. This is the basis for the “one in a million” comment from Prof. Chris Gore mentioned in the above quote.
If Lance Armstrong was not lying to Oprah and he was in fact clean in 2009 and 2010, it calls into question the whole biological passport system. The only resolution is for Armstrong to work with UCI, WADA and Chris Gore to explore how such anomalous blood results could have occurred by chance. As some have suggested on my blog (step forward “anonymous”) perhaps he used hypoxic tents in Italy? If we don’t know how this happened there could be a whole lot of “false positive” passport results and athletes could be accused unnecessarily.