Five-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong lashed out at World Anti-Doping Agency head Dick Pound on Thursday for comments he made about cyclists taking illegal substances.
In an open letter released by his representatives, Armstrong said he was "stunned and saddened" by Pound's comments that "The public knows that the riders of the Tour de France and the others take forbidden substances."
Pound's comments were reported in the French newspaper Le Monde on Jan. 28.
"I have said this before and I will say it again: I believe that I am the most tested athlete on this planet, I have never had a single positive doping test, and I do not take performance enhancing drugs," Armstrong said.
Armstrong is in Spain competing in the Tour of Murcia as part of his training to pursue an unprecedented sixth straight Tour de France title.
Although Pound's comments were reported more than a month ago, Armstrong said he felt compelled to defend himself and the professional cycling community.
"I have learned over the years that proving a negative can be quite challenging with people who simply do not want to believe that my accomplishments are possible without drugs," Armstrong said.
"I can live with that. But, for Mr. Pound to assert that I take drugs, or that my fellow riders in the Tour do, is simply careless and unacceptable."
Armstrong acknowledged that cycling has had doping problems but said the sport has cleaned up. He noted that the Tour de France tested him regularly and that tests are controlled by the French Ministry of Sports.
"The Tour de France is one of the most controlled sports events in the world," he said, adding that the majority of cycling tests by the WADA come back clean.
"I ask you focus your efforts on the fight against doping rather than spending your time accusing innocent athletes without any evidence other than your own speculation," Armstrong said.Reuse content