USADA boss got death threats
Paris - The head of the US Anti-Doping
Agency tightened security within his organisation after receiving
several death threats during his investigation of Lance Armstrong.
an interview published on Monday in French sports daily L'Equipe, USADA
chief executive Travis Tygart said he has felt obliged to take stronger
security measures since opening investigations into Armstrong and
members of the former US Postal team.
"The Armstrong affair has
prompted death threats against me. I received three of them, individual
initiatives, in my opinion. Once again, the FBI dealt with that," Tygart
was quoted as saying in L'Equipe's interview from USADA offices in
Colorado Springs, Colorado, adding that he had previously received a
"We've only been really careful for the last two
years. Before, it was an open door policy. But the BALCO case changed
everything, we received death threats for the first time," Tygart said.
"Two for Terry Madden, my predecessor, one for me and my family later
when the (Floyd) Landis confessions first came out. The FBI dealt
directly with all of that."
In August, Armstrong dropped any
further challenges to USADA's allegations that he took
performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France from 1999-2005. A
day later, USADA stripped Armstrong of his Tour titles and banned him
for life. Armstrong has claimed Tygart has a vendetta against him.
accept being accused, mistreated. That's me, the public face of USADA.
Am I a target? I won't shirk my responsibility," Tygart said. "The most
important thing is to protect my team. And to maintain the respect of
the athletes who don't cheat."
The International Cycling Union has yet to ratify USADA's decision to strip Armstrong, saying it needs to see evidence first.
Tygart assured that USADA will provide the files soon to the UCI.
is imminent, by the end of the month," Tygart said, adding that he has
valid documents from French Anti-Doping authorities that confirm
Armstrong's six positive doping tests for the banned blood booster EPO
on the 1999 Tour, revealed by L'Equipe shortly after the 2005 Tour.
absolutely. It's major proof, confirmation of his guilt," Tygart said.
"But it's the ensemble of the proof and the testimonies that we have
gathered which constitutes the proof of his cheating."
effectively dropped his fight by declining to enter USADA's arbitration
process - his last option - because he said he was weary of fighting
accusations that have dogged him for years.
USADA said Armstrong's
decision not to go to arbitration triggers the lifetime ineligibility
and forfeiture of all results from August 1, 1998, through to the present.
It also maintains that Armstrong used banned substances as far back as
1996, steroids as well as blood transfusions.
Tygart said USADA is
fully entitled to act beyond the eight-year statute of limitations
normally applicable within the framework of the World Anti-Doping Code.
right no longer exists once the prosecution manages to prove that the
athlete who cheated influenced the witnesses who could have proved his
guilt during these years," Tygart said. "We are certain that this
happened (with Armstrong) and we will explain this to the UCI when we
give them the file."
Tygart also said that Armstrong could be
called to testify against Johan Bruyneel, his former team manager at
Postal during the years he dominated the Tour. Bruyneel has chosen to
turn to USADA's Anti-Doping Review Board and be heard before their
"I don't know what Bruyneel is hoping for. He has
everything to lose," Tygart said. "Playing for time? Profiting from the
inertia of the system? He will be heard before the end of the year.
Lance Armstrong could be heard as a witness, under oath, like the
"There's no safety net in this game. If there's perjury, that's serious."
WADA rules, Armstrong could also lose other awards, event titles and
cash earnings while the International Olympic Committee might look at
the bronze medal he won in the 2000 Games.
Armstrong, who has
always denied doping and points to hundreds of tests that he has passed,
walked away from the sport in 2011 without being charged following a
two-year federal criminal investigation into many of the same
accusations he faces from USADA.
That investigation was suddenly dropped in February.
"I was surprised, like many people were," Tygart said. "I don't know what happened. It's a mystery."