ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA, - The ASTANA Professional Cycling Team and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong today announced the launch of a new, comprehensive drug testing program for Lance Armstrong. For the past four months, Dr. Don Catlin, the Chief Science Officer of Anti-Doping Sciences Institute, Inc. and one of the leading international anti-doping experts, has been developing a customized program to test Lance Armstrong throughout the 2009 cycling competition season for the use of performance enhancing substances and methods. The program calls for testing about once every three days. The new program's testing is in addition to all the other drug testing to which Lance Armstrong is subject, including out-of-competition testing by the World Anti-Doping Agency ("WADA"), the Union Cycliste Internationale ("UCI"), the United States Anti-Doping Agency ("USADA"), in-competition testing at all of the events in which Lance will compete in 2009, and ASTANA's additional testing of all members of the ASTANA team. The program has been launched, sample collection has commenced, and Dr. Catlin will issue reports on an on-going basis about the program results. Since his comeback announcement a few months ago, Armstrong has been tested 12 times in out-of-competition testing in addition to testing in the ASTANA program and the new ADSI program.

Johan Bruyneel, ASTANA General Manager, explained, "Our goal was to have Dr. Catlin develop a state-of-the-art program to subject Lance Armstrong to more testing than any other athlete in history, to establish whether his performance has been aided by the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Don Catlin has done that, and now we can leave those issues to the drug testers and focus on competitive success for ASTANA in the Tour of Australia and the rest of the 2009 season."

According to Lance Armstrong, "My goal in agreeing to participate in this program is to reduce speculation and debate about drug testing issues that might divert attention away from what my cycling comeback is all about - our global cancer campaign. I am riding in 2009 to help end the stigma of cancer, build a grassroots movement about worldwide cancer collaboration, and make cancer a worldwide priority."

According to Dr. Don Catlin, "We have developed an extensive monitoring program. It accomplishes my goals:

1. To have high frequency testing to maximize the amount of data collected and minimize possibilities the athlete might have to thwart the system,

2. To store frozen samples for two to eight years to give ADSI the ability to perform new or additional tests, and

3. To be independent and offer program transparency to the public and international anti-doping authorities.

Picture courtesy of CorVos