USADA: No doubt Lance doped

2012-10-10 18:25

New York - Lance Armstrong and his team ran the most sophisticated doping programme in sport according to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USDA) which released its report on the case against the US Postal cycling team on Wednesday.

USADA said it was sending the report, which was more than 1 000 pages long and contained the sworn testimony of 26 people, including 15 riders, to the International Cycling Union (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), before making it available on its website.

"The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," USADA said in a statement from chief executive Travis Tygart.

"The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, e-mails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding."

Armstrong has denied cheating and never failed a doping test but the seven-times Tour de France winner was banned for life by USADA in August after announcing he would not fight the charges.

Armstrong's lawyers have repeatedly attacked the credibility of USADA's case, describing the proceedings as a "kangaroo court" and a "witch hunt" on the eve of Wednesday's release.

"USADA has continued its efforts to coerce and manufacture evidence from other riders through threats and sweetheart deals and generated self-serving media coverage through leaks and piecemeal release of tired, disproven allegations," Armstrong's attorney, Timothy J Herman, wrote in a letter to USADA.

"This reasoned decision will be a farce... while USADA can put lipstick on a pig, it still remains a pig."

USADA said the case against Armstrong and his team included eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence and testimony from 11 former team-mates.

Several former team-mates have already spoken out publicly against Armstrong but USADA named all 11 for the first time on Wednesday.

"The evidence demonstrates that the 'Code of Silence' of performance enhancing drug use in the sport of cycling has been shattered, but there is more to do," USADA said.

"From day one, we always hoped this investigation would bring to a close this troubling chapter in cycling's history and we hope the sport will use this tragedy to prevent it from ever happening again," it added.

USADA identified the 11 team-mates as: Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

"It took tremendous courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully. It is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment," USADA said.

"But that is what these riders have done for the good of the sport, and for the young riders who hope to one day reach their dreams without using dangerous drugs or methods."

The UCI had been heavily critical of the American anti-doping body for not releasing its findings sooner.

The UCI can appeal the decision to ban Armstrong for life, even though the American decided not to fight the case, but the sport's world governing body had not yet responded shortly after the USADA report was released.


  • george.outremer - 2012-10-10 18:46

    That the man has never failed a drug test is proof of his innocence.

      marco.marcosi.16 - 2012-10-10 18:54

      Not really, boss. See my comment below: George Hincapie (who, like Armstrong, also never tested positive) admitted to doping during his time on the US Postal team. I would love for him to be found innocent, but don't think that's the case. The sad irony is that cycling was actually far more interesting when the likes of Armstrong, Ullrich etc were battling it out. With the sport "slightly" cleaned up (relative to before), cycling is pretty dull nowadays.

      george.outremer - 2012-10-10 19:17

      Marco, I believe the the so-called 'evidence' has been fabricated to destroy a legend. I challenge the USADA to produce solid evidence. How do you consistently cheat drug tests? The 'evidence' is a load of horse as far as I am concerned.

      marco.marcosi.16 - 2012-10-10 19:29

      Hope you'll be reading the 1000 pages of horse being released by USADA tomorrow then? I'll have your report on my desk by 9am. Thanks and regards

      tyronlouw - 2012-10-10 19:48

      The level of your ignorance is jaw-dropping. Lance did actually fail a drug test in 1999, but it was covered up. In any case, why would you put it past one of the most powerful and well connected cyclists of our time to have sophisticated (and now revealed) systems in place to not get caught? - do you even understand what what at stake? One of the reasons he was not caught is because when he was using EPO there was NO TEST for it - it was only developed much later and testing of his B sample now shows that he was actually doping. Furthermore, the evidence of his cheating is in the science, the scientific analysis of his performances, both physiological and biomechanical - and it is overwhelming. Just because you dont understand the science, does not mean that there is no evidence. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

      george.outremer - 2012-10-10 19:53

      Haha Marco, you are quite the joker. I'll see you on the racetrack tomorrow (beeeg grin) - happy to be tested after the race as well. Then we can go through the report together. Best,

      marco.marcosi.16 - 2012-10-10 19:55

      Amen, Tyron. Even in the absence of science (which many choose to ignore), which is the more likely scenario: (1) Armstrong is/was clean, and there's a huuuuge conspiracy to destroy him, involving doping agencies and former teammates; or (2) he cheated, but gamed the system well enough and had the resources to avoid getting bust.

      george.outremer - 2012-10-10 20:25

      Marco, agreed. I do not condone the use of drugs either. I also agree with Tim Gordon's argument below. Anyway, it was fun shooting the breeze with you on this subject. Let's see what the report has to say.

      tyronlouw - 2012-10-10 20:52

      George, its your lucky day! Here is the report. You agree with Tim's statement. Please clarify: do you think he is innocent becuase you dont think he cheated, or because legally he cannot be found guilty (as per Tim's reasoning, and the reasons why the charges were dropped). Surely you cannot, and should not have to agree with both reasons - cant have your cake and eat it. (Inability to charge him bares no influence on his guilt or otherwise)

      derek.francois.3 - 2012-10-10 20:59

      Geez don't people get it there was no test available at the time for blood doping and that is why the team were always found to be clean. I can't believe that there are still groupies who hero worship this fraud con artist. he cant even man up and admit that he doped when the rest of his team has. I don't have an iota of respect left for this scumbag. Hopefully the next generation of cyclists will learn a valuable lesson from this scumbag cheat. I say the sport governing bodies should strip him of every title he's ever won and sue him for all the prize money.

      gwen.townsend - 2012-10-10 21:15

      Marion Jones never failed a drug test either.

      george.outremer - 2012-10-11 09:59

      Tyron, thank you for posting the link to the report. Stating the obvious: I have expressed a view that Lance is innocent given that he has not failed the standard drug tests which have been used as the baseline to identify cheats. Having said this, I have read the allegations in the report you have provided. The allegations that he took cortisone, testosterone, etc and his doctor used saline drips to cheat the system are serious. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this. I would like to see this challenged in a court of law - and this speaks to my personal value system, that is: I do not judge people based on allegations (no matter how convincing). These need to be challenged/tested in court and proof positive (beyond reasonable doubt) established. In closing this point, I would also like to state a couple of other 'obvious' points for you to think about: I do not appreciate the tone of your posts - which I believe border on arrogance, and an obsessive need to prove yourself right and me wrong, and finally, I do not need to justify my views to you. I do not condone the use of drugs, and I do not tolerate cheats. If Lance is guilty as is alleged, then I am the first to admit that my trust in him has been misplaced and I am wrong.

      darryn.lahner - 2012-10-11 11:44

      They should just allow doping and just call it Tour de Freak and we can all get on and enjoy it knowing that we are really watching a freakshow. Sheez, maybe in a few years we can have 4 legged monsters with an eye, 4 hearts, six lungs and four huge legs pump their way up Alp de Huez in 3 minutes flat!

      tyronlouw - 2012-10-11 12:31

      If the only evidence you will accept regarding his guilt is the drug testing then I can't really criticise anything that follows. This is mainly because I can't have an arguement with someone about biomechanics and physiology if they have never studied it - the debate is capped at an opinion. In this regard please accept my apology, I sometimes forget that different people know different amounts about different things. In my opinion, there is a great deal more to the evidence that proves his guilt, and much of it is more convincing. Please take a look at one of my collagues' website, here he explores the drug test debate you refered to in your first statement. I hope this gives you more insight into the saga, from a scientific point of view - Ross is quite good at writing for oublic. Enjoy.

  • marco.marcosi.16 - 2012-10-10 18:48

    OUCH! I'm a fan of the work he's done for cancer, and would call myself a fan of his in general. But I think his goose is cooked here - game over. Sounds like evidence is overwhelming, and a little while ago George Hincapie (who, like Armstrong, also never tested positive) admitted to doping during his time on the US Postal team. Sad day for cycling, no real winners here

      hamish.drake1 - 2012-10-10 19:20

      "Sounds like evidence is overwhelming" is exactly the problem Marco. All we have is hearsay from riders already found guilty. Unless USADA hearings are run along the lines of a court of law, we will never know if someone is guilty or mearly "guilty" of being the best.

      marco.marcosi.16 - 2012-10-10 19:27

      @hamish: hearsay from a LOT of ex-teammates. I'll be the first to discredit testimony from Floyd Landis, he's clearly a pathalogical liar. But George Hincapie is one of the most respected guys in the pelaton, and today he announced that he doped (without being caught) during his time on USPS. I'm not one of the folk blindly trying to crucify Armstrong in a witch-hunt, please dont get me wrong. But if there's a 1000 page report being released tomorrow, I'm guessing there's more in it than a few vague testimonies from bitter ex-teammates.

      gwen.townsend - 2012-10-10 21:17

      Hearsay is when somebody tells something that someone else told them. When somebody gives evidence about something that they have direct and personal knowledge of, it isn't hearsay.

  • PrettyUsefulArt - 2012-10-10 19:49

    I so want to believe him to be innocent.

  • tim.gordon.5011516 - 2012-10-10 19:56

    It is a principle of law that a new law cannot be applied retrospectively. Thus, if Lance was using a substance that later came to be banned, the later ban cannot be applied to him, even if he was using a substance that would have latently violated the law. It follows therefore that legally he is innocent. Morals are a completely different judgment call.

      ruudzlaffl.bairdimpfl - 2012-10-10 20:15

      The rules against doping, including the use of EPO and blood doping, already existed during the period for which Lance has been taken to task. He violated existing rules. The fact that they had difficulty in catching him and the other USPS riders does not make him less guilty thereof.

      tim.gordon.5011516 - 2012-10-10 20:18

      I use performance enhancing drugs all the time.Its called COFFEE. So if one day coffee is banned I should be jailled? The case against Armstrong is absolute nonsence.

  • badladballie - 2012-10-10 19:57

    I think they should allow 2 types of competitors in the next tour de france: 1 group clean and natural and 2nd group unlimited doping at their own risk. What an interesting experiment that would be.

  • lara.vanrooyen.1 - 2012-10-10 19:58

    Has anyone wondered whether the cancer might be connected to the drugs?

      millionwatts1 - 2012-10-10 20:29

      I have wondered if he had cancer at all or it was a total fraud to throw everyone off.

  • gordon.turner.37 - 2012-10-10 19:58

    Marion Jones never tested positive... You don't need a body to prove murder.

  • konrad.hauptfleisch - 2012-10-10 20:29

    Not guilty because he never tested positive? OK. How many of you believe Jacob Zuma is innocent? He was never found guilty of corruption...

  • millionwatts1 - 2012-10-10 20:33

    I never doubted he doped. I doubt he even had cancer. He raised money well and good but that was to guilt trip us.

  • alexander721 - 2012-10-10 20:34

    careful what to say here........i have always been a fan, but not a blind fan. WHat erks me is this....back then there was no direct ban on certian substances, if your levels where below a certain mark then you were ok. As tyler said, the lower your normal levels the better the performance whe you took up to the legal level. Anyhow, you cannot finger point only one team. it is becomming obvious that many did. if you are going to go after one team, you must go after all. Yes, USP were very good at it, but that does not mean they were the only ones. And yes, If Lance did, then i am very disapointed in him. However even he said it.......the sport is bigger and better than any one man, so....................CYCLE ON....(till the next big doping scandal.)

      tyronlouw - 2012-10-10 23:31

      I dont think its only about Lance as an individual. I think they see him as a ring-leader, which, apart from the other ethical resons, is why they are pursuing him.

  • Theuns Jacobs - 2012-10-10 20:43

    watching cycling is the same as watching pakistan play cricket against india. 1 can never trust the result fully!

      bernard.mackenzie.5 - 2012-10-10 21:22

      Don't you mean Pakistan against South Africa?

  • delish7564 - 2012-10-10 20:46

    The problem I have with this whole fiasco is why now, why not earlier? You're not going to tell me there weren't whispers before, so why wasn't something done then? As for his team mates, hmmm, have to wonder about the timing. Whilst I'm not saying he's innocent or otherwise, I think this whole set up stinks and as for the suggestion that he may not really have had cancer, seriously @millionwatts, what kind of sicko would do that to himself? Apart from anything, I'm sure someone would have said something, a rejected girlfriend, fiancée perhaps?

  • izan.botes.7 - 2012-10-10 22:58

    Cycling is not even a real sport it is exercise. And one has to look like a thirteen year old girl on crack to compete at the highest level. Cycling is broken same cricket both sports should loose their rights to be called professional and instead be called entertainment like the WWE. And to the guy moaning about EPO how can it be illegal if they did not even know how to test for it. It is like banning carbon fibor

      tyronlouw - 2012-10-10 23:23

      What an incredibly stupid thing to say. For one, cycling has strategy involved. That alone constitutes it a game. As for EPO, it unnaturally alters your performance and is therefore against the rules. Just because they didnt have tests for it does not mean it was legal. There are currently designer steriods for which detection tests have not yet been established - if it was discovered in 10 years that Bolt used undetectable steroids, surely you would agree that he had an unfair disadvantage over his competitors? Your carbon fibre example does not do your arguement any justice. 1) We understand all the properties of the material, 2) its design and use is regulated by the IAAF and IPC, 3) they are freely available to all competing athletes. Not the same as an unknown, unregulated, and underground substance that unnaturally enhances your performance.

      tyronlouw - 2012-10-10 23:27

      One last thing: If you are correct in your assertion that using EPO is not cheating, why would Lance not admit to it and instead argue your exact (and admittedly in-depth and well thought through) point that it couldnt have been illegal because they weren't clever enough to catch him? That will show all those judges, lawyers and scientists.

  • izan.botes.7 - 2012-10-10 23:00

    Sorry posted to soon, i meant bannung carbon fiber before it was invented.

  • sharkie.fin - 2012-10-12 08:20

    Like Homer said.... Dope!

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