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Muscle Sport Magazine

Lance’s Return Sparks New Approach to Drug Testing

By Leigh Penman

The recent announcement by Lance Armstrong that he will be returning to professional cycling has once again opened the door to speculation that he cheated his way to seven Tour De France victories. Having previously sued journalists for publishing circumstantial evidence regarding his use of performance enhancing substances, Armstrong has now surrendered himself to an aggressive new screening program under the direction of renowned anti-doping scientist Don Catlin.

However, Catlin (who assisted in exposing the BALCO doping ring in 2003) admits that the tests offer no guarantees in terms of tracking an athletes drug use and, of course, will do little to remove the suspicion of Armstrong’s past use of performance enhancing substances. The tests themselves will be as accurate as technologically possible though and Catlin feels they will be very hard to beat and any athlete trying to do so will be very foolish indeed. The results of Armstrong’s blood and urine tests will be posted on line and the urine will be frozen and stored for future re-testing.

The fact that Armstrong will be paying Catlin for the work out of his own pocket has of course given rise to speculation that he may have an influence on the results. However, he has dismissed such claims by saying, “There’s not enough money anywhere to potentially buy out Don Catlin.” Referring anyone who questions the integrity of the tests to Catlin himself for reassurance.

In conclusion Armstrong has stated that although he has promised to compete in January’s Tour Down Under in Australia and the Leadville 100 (an endurance event in Colorado) his goal is not to win an eighth Tour De France. His main focus for 2009 will be to raise cancer awareness, using his celebrity and return to pro sports to draw attention to this illness from which he once suffered. The fact that he claims an eighth Tour win is not on the agenda also serves as a convenient escape route if he turns in a lack luster performance (oops, did I say that?).

Leigh Penman, in addition to be a staff writer at MuscleSport Mag, has been writing for bodybuilding magazines, websites and nutritional supplement companies since 1985. Whilst residing in the UK, she earned the reputation of being one of the top female writers in bodybuilding-related media. Her credits included being a contributing editor on all the magazines in production as well as filling the shoes of Ladies Editor and Showbiz Editor on two publications (the later being on Arnold’s sanctioned magazine, ‘Bodypower’). During this time she also competed successfully on four occasions (placing in the top four in all contests).

Relocating to New York in the late 1990s she focused her writing attention to crystal healing techniques and metaphysics – however, she still maintained a five day workout schedule during this time and gained her personal training certificate.

Having also studied pharmacology in relation to sports performance, her writing began taking her in that direction until the present day which sees her embarking on a return to the magazine world, as well as extending her web-related work in the bodybuilding and fitness field.

Leigh has been working out for close to thirty years so she is clearly a writer who ‘walks her talk.’
She can be contacted personally at zeal2heal@yahoo.com or you can also check her out at New York’s favorite metaphysical store www.stickstoneandbone.com
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