According to DR, the leading Danish media conglomerate, Armstrong’s blood values at this year’s Tour de France are suspicious, and could be indicative of blood doping.
Paraphrasing Google’s translation of the DR article:
Evidence suggests that Lance Armstrong used blood doping during the Tour de France, says one of Denmark’s leading blood researchers, Jakob Mørkebjerg from Bispebjerg Hospital, to DR Sport after he saw American’s blood values.
Both the hematocrit (red blood cell counts) and hemoglobin were essentially the same on the first day and last day of the Tour, which is quite unusual. Furthermore, [Armstrong’s] hematocrit value increased during 11th-14th July, representing the middle of the Tour, [from] 40.7 to 43.1, which is also noteworthy, believes Mørkebjerg.
“What we know from our research is that the hard work as a Tour de France will cause a marked decrease of these blood values, and it seems this did not happen in Lance Armstrong,” says Mørkebjerg, who has just completed a PhD thesis on blood doping.
Why might that be?
“It could be because he has had some blood transfusions. This does not mean that he has received them, but it could be one explanation.”
There may be other reasons?
“Had he, for example, had diarrhea and was dehydrated, it could lead to an increase in blood levels,” said Mørkebjerg, elaborating further: “But the picture is a contradiction of we would normally see. Lance Armstrong’s values are unchanged from the first to the last sample, and [we] would normally expect a decline. This decline can be seen in his values during the Giro d’Italia a few months before, but not so during the Tour de France.”
DR Sport has unsuccessfully tried to get a comment from Lance Armstrong, who was No. 3 in the Tour de France.
Some may say that Armstrong’s return to racing this year was too good to be true, especially his podium finish. Others will dismiss this article (which has yet to make it to the major English-language cycling media) as yet another attempt to smear Armstrong’s legacy as arguably the greatest Tour de France rider of all time.
What’s reality? Only Armstrong and those closest to him know for sure … but I’d like to think that for once, the Tour was relatively clean, and that Armstrong’s position was due to incredibly hard work. The fact remains that he was and is one of the most heavily tested athletes in the world; so either he has access to some incredible drugs that no one can find, or he truly is competing cleanly.
Time will tell.