Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The head of Switzerland’s anti-doping laboratory described as “nonsense” on Friday claims by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart that he helped Lance Armstrong avoid being caught for doping.
Lab director Martial Saugy called a news conference to answer accusations by Tygart that he provided Armstrong with information on how to avoid detection for use of the blood-boosting drug EPO.
Tygart told the U.S. television program “60 Minutes Sports” on Wednesday that Saugy acknowledged to him that he gave Armstrong and his team manager, Johan Bruyneel, “the keys to beating EPO tests” before the 2002 Tour de France.
“The answer is clear: It’s ‘No’,” Saugy said Friday, adding he was “surprised” by the claim. “I would like to ask him (Tygart), really personally, why did he say that, because personally it was not the case.”
Saugy suggested that Tygart had “deficiencies” in his recollection of their discussion in Moscow in 2010 soon after U.S. federal investigators opened a probe into Armstrong and doping in cycling.
“I don’t really understand the interpretation on that part of the discussion,” Saugy later told The Associated Press in an interview. “For me, it is a nonsense.”
In the TV program, Tygart said he asked Saugy: “Did you give Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel the keys to beating EPO tests?”
“And he nodded to say ‘yes,’” Tygart said. “He explained to them, just the two of them. As far as I know, it’s unprecedented. It’s completely wrong to meet an athlete with a suspect result and explain to him how the test works.”
Saugy acknowledged his respect for Tygart, with whom he worked with on a previous case involving Armstrong’s former teammate Tyler Hamilton. Tygart’s determination to build a case against Armstrong for using EPO and other performance-enhancing drugs was crucial after the federal case was dropped early last year.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life after USADA released a report last year detailing widespread doping by the American rider and his teams.
“Travis Tygart is a key person in the fight against doping,” Saugy said, before adding, “He knows the rules. He knows we must be transparent in order to respect the right of the defense. We need also to respect all the other athletes.”
Saugy said he followed the International Cycling Union’s request to meet with Armstrong in Luxembourg before the 2002 Tour started.
The Swiss official denied suggestions he had made an error or was naive in meeting the rider to discuss anti-doping strategy — a decision now criticized by Tygart and World Anti-Doping Agency officials as a clear conflict of interest.
“I have absolutely no regret. I would repeat it,” Saugy told The AP, explaining that Armstrong and other riders at that time had a right to information about false positive results in the relatively new EPO test. “They wanted to know what is the basis of the fight against doping.”
Armstrong will give his first television interview since the sanctions were imposed when he speaks with Oprah Winfrey next Thursday.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.