- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

LONDON (AP) - The head of world cycling on Friday accused France’s anti-doping agency of unprofessional and “disturbing” behavior after it released a report saying Lance Armstrong did not fully cooperate with a drug tester.

The French agency, known as AFLD, said it could punish the seven-time Tour de France champion for not remaining in sight of the doctor conducting a test on his hair, urine and blood on March 17.

No banned substances were found and Armstrong has denied misbehaving, claiming that he was allowed to take a shower during a 20-minute delay.

While the tests fell outside the International Cycling Union’s jurisdiction, Armstrong received the organization’s backing on Friday.

“The fact (is) the test was done and was a matter of fact reported by Lance Armstrong himself on Twitter,” UCI president Pat McQuaid told the BBC. “Then the French authorities decided to make up a report on the testing procedure, forward it to the UCI _ knowing that the UCI have no jurisdiction in this case _ and at the same time that report has leaked to the press.

“So I would have to question why is that the case? I would have to say that the French are not acting very professionally in this case.”

Armstrong responded to the AFLD statement by taking swipes at French officials on his Twitter feed, saying “Was winning the Tour seven times that offensive?!?” and “Just took a shower. Got it down under 10 mins. Whew.”

Armstrong has had tense relations with France’s anti-doping authorities for years, but is hoping to win an eighth Tour title in July after coming out of a 3 1/2-year retirement.

“This is just another example of the improper behavior by the French laboratory and the French anti-doping organizations,” Armstrong said in a statement Tuesday. “I am sorry that they are disappointed that all the tests were negative, but I do not use any prohibited drugs or substances.”

McQuaid said proceedings between anti-doping agencies and the UCI are supposed to be kept confidential until “a decision to open up the case has been taken.”

“But this case, it has leaked to the press and I do find that disturbing,” he said.

Armstrong was training in Beaulieu-sur-Mer in southern France when the test was conducted. Armstrong said he had returned from a ride to find the tester at his house, identifying himself as a representative of a French lab.

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