Four of Lance Armstrong's doping controls from the 1999 Tour de France tested positive for corticosteroids, according to an internal UCI document obtained by Het Nieuwsblad. Until now, only one positive result had been leaked to the press.
At the time, Armstrong's team doctor, Luis Garcia Del Moral, prepared a back-dated therapeutic use exemption (TUE), claiming the cortisone was legally used to treat a saddle sore. Armstrong wasn't sanctioned by the UCI and went on to win the 1999 Tour de France. But in his doping confession, he admitted to having illegally used the substance.
According to the UCI memo prepared by UCI attorney Philippe Verbiest, the quantities of the drug found in Armstrong's sample were minimal, unlikely to be administered purposefully as a performance enhancer:
The test results were seen and still can be seen as showing that no systemic use took place. If the corticosteroids had been injected then Del Moral must have known that the substance was likely to show up regularly during the Tour. He then could have delivered a prescription or a certificate that LA had been administered an intra-articular injection for corticosteroids, which is not forbidden either.
Verbiest goes on to say that the status of corticosteroids at the 1999 Tour was ambitious and Armstrong's team "didn’t know how to deal with the requirement of the list on how the use of corticosteroids was to be justified."