AUSTIN, Texas - Lance Armstrong is defending himself against suggestions he misbehaved during a recent drug test in France
The cycling great, hoping to win an eighth Tour de France title in July, said in a statement Tuesday he did not try to evade a March 17 test in which, blood, urine and hair samples were collected and were ultimately found to be drug free.
France's anti-doping agency sent a report on Armstrong's behaviour during the test to cycling's governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency. At question is a 20-minute delay when Armstrong says the tester agreed to let him shower while his assistants checked the tester's credentials.
''I did not try to evade or delay the testing process that day,'' said Armstrong, who also lashed out at French doping authorities.
A spokesman for the International Cycling Union has said the organization doesn't have any jurisdiction in the matter. Testing of hair samples is allowed under French law, but is not recognized by WADA or the UCI.
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.
Although he has submitted to numerous tests conducted by sports doping authorities, Armstrong said he was unaware the French government and labs could conduct them on their own.
Once they checked the sample collector's credential's with the UCI, Armstrong said he willingly gave the samples, although he has previously complained the hair sample collection ''butchered'' his hair cut.
''I had no idea who this guy was or whether he was telling the truth,'' Armstrong said. ''We asked the tester for evidence of his authority. We looked at his papers but they were far from clear or impressive and we still had significant questions about who he was or for whom he worked.''
Armstrong said he wanted to make sure the tester ''wasn't just some French guy with a backpack and some equipment to take my blood and urine.''
Armstrong says he asked the tester if he could go inside the house to shower while they waited to hear from UCI and the tester agreed. According to Armstrong, the tester wrote ''no'' on the section of the testing that asks if there was anything irregular about the test.
Armstrong said he had been tested 24 times ''without incident'' before the episode in France.
''This is just another example of the improper behaviour by the French laboratory and the French anti-doping organizations,'' Armstrong said. ''I am sorry that they are disappointed that all the tests were negative, but I do not use any prohibited drugs or substances.''