Deals to testify against Lance

2010-08-02 22:29

Austin - Lance Armstrong's attorneys say the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is offering cyclists a "sweetheart deal" if they testify or provide evidence that the seven-time Tour de France winner cheated by doping.

If those riders have been caught doping, the deal from USADA could result in a reduced ban from competition and other incentives, attorney Tim Herman told The Associated Press on Monday.

Federal investigators in Los Angeles are looking at cheating in professional cycling and have shown interest in Armstrong since former teammate and 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis alleged this year that Armstrong and others took performance-enhancing drugs, which Armstrong strongly denies.

In 2007, Landis said USADA offered him a similar deal to finger Armstrong. At the time, Landis called the offer "offensive" and did not provide evidence against Armstrong.

USADA spokesperson Erin Hannan said the agency could not comment in detail about an investigation.

"Our effort in any investigation is a search for the truth, nothing more and nothing less," Hannan said. "On behalf of clean athletes, we will fairly and thoroughly evaluate all evidence of doping to reveal the truth. When the process results in credible evidence of doping, clean athletes can rest assured we will take appropriate action under the rules established by federal law."

USADA has a history of reducing penalties for athletes who provide evidence of doping violations by other athletes, but asking for information about specific athletes is not allowed under the agency's rules.

Armstrong's attorneys say USADA's current offer is for riders to talk to federal investigator Jeff Novitzky, who could then give the information to USADA. A spokesperson for the US attorney's office in Los Angeles did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Presumably, the alleged deal would only be worthwhile for riders who are still competing or young enough to return to competition if a ban was lifted.

"USADA is promising riders a sweetheart deal if they can produce anything harmful on Armstrong," Herman said. "A rider who has doped, they tell them, 'If you can finger Armstrong, we'll get out the eraser ... and everything is cool."'

Herman said he could not disclose which rider or riders have been offered a deal.

Landis implicated at least 16 other people in various doping acts, including longtime Armstrong confidant George Hincapie, Armstrong's current Team Radioshack teammate Levi Leipheimer and another elite American rider, Dave Zabriskie.

Tyler Hamilton, who rode in support of Armstrong on the US Postal Service team in 1999 and 2000 reportedly has been subpoenaed.

Hamilton won the 2004 Olympic gold medal in the time trial in Athens, but failed a test for blood doping afterward and eventually served a two-year suspension.

Hamilton returned to racing and won the 2008 US road championship, but retired last year after admitting that he took an antidepressant that contained the banned steroid DHEA. He was officially banned from cycling for eight years.

In 2007, Landis said USADA general counsel Travis Tygart approached his attorney shortly after learning of Landis' positive doping test during the Tour.

Herman questioned whether USADA could legally offer such an incentive for testimony.

In a 2007 letter to the US Olympic Committee, which contracted with USADA, Herman claimed that, as a private entity, USADA's deal offer is similar to bribery.

Herman said Monday he would raise the some concern with federal investigators.

At USADA, Hannan said the agency considers all athletes "innocent until and unless proven otherwise through the established legal process. Attempts to sensationalise or exploit either the process or the athletes are a disservice to fair play, due process, and to those who love clean sport."


  • Rusty - 2010-08-02 22:42

    Is it "jealousy makes you nasty" or "where there is smoke there is fire"?

  • otto - 2010-08-03 05:59

    how can you trust the word of previously "convicted" druggies? they are after all, looking to find a way back into the sport, so if you have to lie to do that, then so they will. Come on USADAm wake up.

  • rooie - 2010-08-03 06:52

    Think about it. Is it really possible to dominate the dirtiest sport out there WITHOUT taking something?? My "blanket assumption" is that if you win, then you take performance enhancing "naughties". FULL STOP!!.

  • spokes - 2010-08-03 07:58

    Armstrong is the most tested athlete of all time with regard to performance enhancing drugs - apparently he has been tested over 300 times!? So far he is absolutely clean and thus innocent of charges of doping. Now a convicted felon (Landis) for some obscure reason is on a witch hunt and all like minded (or should that be mindless?) cyclists are invited to join the party with a promise of impunity? Something with this scenario just doesn't quite gel. I hope that absolutely nothing is found and that Lance retains his credibility and integrity.

  • Lancet - 2010-08-03 08:23

    This is a typical case of a bunch of sad little people with no lives to talk of, collaborating to bring down the giant. The French and one David Walsh tried their damnedest to prove he's a doper - they even resorted to expired frozen urine samples from 1999 but they could come up with nothing that amounts to ethical scientific proof. Now a new witch-hunt is underway with his old foe , Greg LeMond, who could only manage to win 3 TDF's, in hot pursuit. It is utterly pathetic that so many losers just cannot stand the fact that they do not have what it takes, either intellectually or physically, to make the grade and so they resort to conspiracy theories and their pitiful lives are consumed by endless vendettas against imagined evil.

  • Cycle Sam - 2010-08-03 08:31

    They tested him so often he would have been caught out. His rivals are jealous little children. Funny how teh champions are always targets of mud slinging and underhanded tactics to prove they are on;y 99% human.

  • clean - 2010-08-03 11:29

    it is nothing new for one person to dominate a sporting event for years on end. Take Fordyce for example. These people have that extra something that makes them just that bit better.

  • VAD - 2010-08-03 12:27

    It’s too late now. At what point do the USADA say enough is enough and get on investigating current affairs? Cycle has such a bad reputation, second only to bodybuilding.

  • @clean - 2010-08-03 12:46

    Fordyce has never been tested for any banned substance as far as I know. Same with Frith van der Merwe who one year came in 15th overall in the Comrades. We will probably never know what "extra something" made them just that bit better.

  • BladeRunner - 2010-08-03 13:20

    Oh please, we all know that methods of masking doping in tests have become more of an art form than a science, and that most if not all these guys are drugged up to the hilt! And all you plonkers keep supporting this sport? How cheated you must feel.

  • Mike T - 2010-08-03 19:46

    This is just a case of jealousy. Because people cannot believe that the greatest cyclist of all time won 7 Tours, they have to try and deframe him. He has tested negative thousands of times, so how can they now come and accuse him of doping? Obviously all the guys who realise they may have a problem then jump on the band-wagon for this so-called "Sweetheart deal. Bullsh$t, I say. He was the best and always will be!

  • Johan - 2010-08-05 13:20

    If Armstrong IS a long standing drug addict then he looks in pretty good shape to me!

  • KB - 2010-08-05 14:51

    Rooie what a stupid comment, '..if you win, then you take performance enhancing drugs.' your right that it is an assumption and a bloody stupid one. Why is it that the 'plonkers,' out there can't just accept that there are in every sport legends who are just a cut above the rest. Nadal/Federer are curently legends in tennis - I suppose they to are on 'drugs,' as well. If Lance has been tested as many times as they say then let him get on with been the legend he is and the 'plonkers,' get a bloody life! I suppose Contador and Schleck are on drugs too - they obliterated the rest at the TDF.

  • Ex_Pro - 2010-08-05 18:04

    Armstrong never tested positive because his blood was 'clean' - the practice is to extract blood (lots!) when your blood is clean, store it, and then transfuse it back prior to doping tests. This is well known in the pro ranks and Lance perfected the technique!! (assisted by some highly skilled/paid medical professionals). Not one, not two, but ALL the individuals who came clean about Armstrong mentioned this very technique.

  • Lancet - 2010-08-05 21:49

    @ Ex Pro: In theory it's possible, only problem is he could not have always known when he would be tested, as they often get tested without prior warning. No way he could have gotten away for 7+ years. Blood transfusions can in any event be detected shortly afterwards. If Lance is the only cyclist who managed to fool all the lab technicians, spies and medical investigators for all these years, he must be one phenomenal genius who ought to be head hunted by NASA.

  • john - 2010-08-06 01:57

    rooie - How stupid are you. What an absolute turd of a comment. Shut the hell up you idiot.

  • kb - 2010-08-06 12:44

    Ex-Pro. Why is it that you have it all figured out and the UCI and drug investigators are a bunch of 'plonkers,' for not 'catching,' Lance in the act. He has been tested and checked in and out of competition so how do you explain that he has never been caught. You say 'all,' have come clean, so what you are saying is that all were caught trying and Lance perfected the 'technique,' and wasn't. My conclusion: He is a genius and the rest are jealous plonkers.' My feeling is we will probably find more 'drug,' takers in the amateur ranks in cycling than in the Pro ranks, after all we have learnt all this from the ex-pro's. We just can't hide it as well as Lance!(LOL)

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