US Anti-Doping Agency comes down on Lance Armstrong

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The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is bringing doping charges against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, threatening to strip his victories in those storied cycling races.

Armstrong  ARNULFO FRANCO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARNULFO FRANCO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Armstrong

Armstrong could face a lifetime ban from the sport if he is found to have used performance-enhancing drugs. The move by USADA immediately bans him from competing in triathlons, which he turned to after he retired from cycling last year.

Armstrong, in a statement Wednesday, dismissed any doping allegations as “baseless” and “motivated by spite” and noted they came just months after federal prosecutors closed a two-year criminal investigation against the cyclist without bringing an indictment.

The charges by USADA were first reported by the Washington Post.

The letter also said the agency was bringing doping charges against Johan Bruyneel, manager of Armstrong’s winning teams; team doctors Pedro Celaya and Luis Garicia del Moral; team trainer Pepe Martin, and consulting doctor Michele Ferrari.

The USADA letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, accuses Armstrong of using and promoting the use of the blood booster EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, human growth hormone and anti-
inflammatory steroids. The letter doesn’t cite specific examples, but says the charges are based on evidence gathered in an investigation of Armstrong’s teams, including witnesses who aren’t named in the letter.

It also says blood collections obtained by cycling’s governing body in 2009 and 2010 are “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”

USADA officials had said they would pursue possible charges against Armstrong even after federal criminal investigators had closed their case.

CYCLIST’S STATEMENT

Statement by Lance Armstrong on USADA doping case:

“I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned. These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.

“I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence. Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me.”


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