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Lance Armstrong charged with doping


PauloBarnesi
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Lance Armstrong has been formally charged with doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) according to the Washington Post. The seven-time Tour de France winner has been banned from competition effective immediately, including triathlons which he has been racing since he retired from pro road cycling in 2011.

The Washington Post reported on a copy of a 15-page letter sent to Lance Armstrong by USADA on Tuesday. In it, the agency alleged that some of Armstrong's blood samples from 2009 and 2010 were "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions."

Armstrong has never tested positive in any doping tests.

The news comes after the US federal government ended an investigation into doping allegations abruptly in February. The nearly two-year grand jury investigation was closed with no charges brought. The Food and Drug Adminstration's Jeff Novitzky had headed the investigation. Armstrong had welcomed the end of federal investigation earlier this year.

The Washington Post reported that Armstrong's attorney Robert D. Luskin called USADA's latest allegations a product of "malice and spite" on behalf of USADA, which for years has been seeking information on whether Armstrong doped. He pointed to all of Armstrong's passed drug tests and said the letter was a result of a conspiracy against Armstrong since several teams and riders are mentioned, but his client is the only one charged.

USADA has been conducting its own investigation separate from that done by the federal government. USADA has the authority to suspend dopers from competition in Olympic sports and it can take back awards, but it cannot press criminal charges.

The letter accuses not only Armstrong, but also five associates, including three doctors and team manager Johan Bruyneel. It says that they "engaged in a massive doping conspiracy from 1998-2011" and cites the testimony of more than 10 cyclists. Michele Ferrari is one of the named doctors.

In its letter, USADA says Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents as well as distributed them and administered them to others.

Luskin reported that USADA had invited Armstrong to meet last week, but Armstrong chose not to do so.

USADA had previously said it would obtain information from the US Attorney's federal investigation once its case had closed. "Unlike the U.S. Attorney, USADA’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws," Tygart had said in a statement.

Armstrong responds

On his website on Wednesday, Armstrong issued a statement in response to the USADA letter and allegations.

"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."

This comes as a massive surprise

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I hope he is innocent. He was one of the reasons I got into cycling. His reaction to Indurain pissing past him on a TT at the 94 tdf was epic.

I hope for the sake of the sport he is and was clean.

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Since 1987 we have had 14 different winners of the tour, two have lost titles for doping offences, six of them have had drug related incidents, several of the others have dark clouds hanging over them. Throughout Armstrongs career, most of his main competitors, and several members of his team have tested for drugs. So it would seem that Armstrong has to either be a super athlete to beat these others (Ullrich; positive, Contador; positive, Pantani; positive, Virenque; positive, Vinokorouv; positive, etc, etc), or that he has managed to avoid being tested for drugs when he had the drugs in his system. The evidence against him is circumstantial, but is very compelling. Why did Armstrong associate himself with Dr Ferrari? Why have multiple team mates accused him of drug taking? etc, etc. Armstrong claims he is the most tested athlete, but thats his claim, it is not backed up by any real evidence. Professional athletes become extremely adept at avoiding the testing authorities when they need to.

The sooner this sordid affair is over the sooner the sport can move on. But its a fact that all sports, but most especially professional endurance sports, are open to drug abuse, and always will be. If anyone can show me a clean sport I would be shocked.

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I don't have the level of knowledge on this you do Paulo, far from it so pardon what be a slightly naive approach in some of my thinking but there are a few things about this that just don't seem to make sense to me.

First, you say that athletes become extremely adept at avoiding the testing authorities when they need to but then you list the likes of Ullrich, Contador, Pantani, Virenque and Vinokorouv who haven't actually succeeded in avoiding the testing authorities. Those two things seem to me at least to contradict each other. Surely given the fact that so many athletes have been caught and considering the length of Armstrong's career it is highly likely he too would have been caught at some stage even if adept at avoiding testers?

From my limited knowledge of this it appears to me that there is a belief he must be a cheat not because there is any evidence that he is a cheat. You yourself say that for him to have beaten the people he has beaten he either has to be a super athlete or a cheat but the assumption perhaps because there have been so many other cheats is that he must be a cheat rather than a super athlete.

There seems to be to be an assumption of guilt based on the guilt of others and on the fact that his achievements are viewed as being too good to be true. That to me as the makings of a bit of a witch hunt, especially when it appears that the only evidence against him is the word of those caught cheating and seeking some sort of deal.

I admit I don't know much about Dr Ferrari so can't really pass comment on that part of this, I will go away and read up on that.

It just seems to me that Armstrong is being unfairly labelled a cheat and assumed guilty based on little more than the guilt of others and the brilliance of his achievements.

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Since 1987 we have had 14 different winners of the tour, two have lost titles for doping offences, six of them have had drug related incidents, several of the others have dark clouds hanging over them. Throughout Armstrongs career, most of his main competitors, and several members of his team have tested for drugs. So it would seem that Armstrong has to either be a super athlete to beat these others (Ullrich; positive, Contador; positive, Pantani; positive, Virenque; positive, Vinokorouv; positive, etc, etc), or that he has managed to avoid being tested for drugs when he had the drugs in his system. The evidence against him is circumstantial, but is very compelling. Why did Armstrong associate himself with Dr Ferrari? Why have multiple team mates accused him of drug taking? etc, etc. Armstrong claims he is the most tested athlete, but thats his claim, it is not backed up by any real evidence. Professional athletes become extremely adept at avoiding the testing authorities when they need to.

The sooner this sordid affair is over the sooner the sport can move on. But its a fact that all sports, but most especially professional endurance sports, are open to drug abuse, and always will be. If anyone can show me a clean sport I would be shocked.

Very much with Mr B on this.

I would be absolutely shocked if Armstrong had not taken various drugs and illegal peformance enhancers during his TDF wins.

I simply can't see how it is possible, and also why so many would point the finger at him, if he were wnot guilty. It's not 1 or 2 people fingering him, it's several "in the know", that have seen him do it. His association with the dodgy doc and the dodgy team in general also suggests guilt. Would he be almost the only rider on his team NOT taking drugs?

He was, often with relative ease, beating the really top TDF riders year after year, and they WERE on drugs. So, he's some sort of superhuman who just rode for dodgy teams who were doing drugs but he had nothing to do with it, or he was "at it" too.

Guilty, IMO.

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First, you say that athletes become extremely adept at avoiding the testing authorities when they need to but then you list the likes of Ullrich, Contador, Pantani, Virenque and Vinokorouv who haven't actually succeeded in avoiding the testing authorities. Those two things seem to me at least to contradict each other. Surely given the fact that so many athletes have been caught and considering the length of Armstrong's career it is highly likely he too would have been caught at some stage even if adept at avoiding testers?

A few things spring to mind; I shouldn’t have said positive; Ullrich and Basso never were caught by a positive drugs test, but by the Fuentes affair in Spain. I believe Virenque wasn’t either, but caught up in the Festina affair, with Pantani I believe it was a high level of red blood cells, which caused a suspension. Bjarne Riis was never caught, it was only years later, when it became apparent that most of the T-Mobile team had been involved, that he admitted to EPO. I ve listed some athletes who have been ‘caught’ and could add many more such as David Millar. THose who have been charged, but its the tip of the iceberg. I ve heard enough and seen enough to see where athletes are unavailable to random drug testing when it doesn’t suit them, and available when it suits them. Thats the Armstrong defence and works well enough for him. But the black cloud remains, like it did over Flo-Jo or Carl Lewis.

From my limited knowledge of this it appears to me that there is a belief he must be a cheat not because there is any evidence that he is a cheat. You yourself say that for him to have beaten the people he has beaten he either has to be a super athlete or a cheat but the assumption perhaps because there have been so many other cheats is that he must be a cheat rather than a super athlete.

There seems to be to be an assumption of guilt based on the guilt of others and on the fact that his achievements are viewed as being too good to be true. That to me as the makings of a bit of a witch hunt, especially when it appears that the only evidence against him is the word of those caught cheating and seeking some sort of deal.

I admit I don't know much about Dr Ferrari so can't really pass comment on that part of this, I will go away and read up on that.

It just seems to me that Armstrong is being unfairly labelled a cheat and assumed guilty based on little more than the guilt of others and the brilliance of his achievements.

Some of the athletes like Landis or Hamilton have an axe to grind you could say because they have tested positive and are born liars, but equally you could argue that they might be telling the truth. Some of them like Frankie Andreu don’t have an axe to grind, why are they saying it? Why did Armstrong refuse to talk to the authorities? I wonder what Hincapie said? Why did Armstrong make a large donation to the UCI? Why is the UCI (like FIFA and UEFA) so damn awful?

I think that Armstrong is a great athlete in terms of performance, who trained to a level, had tactics and a team that made him a super athlete. He had an determination to be successful that was incredible. I just believe that like most cyclists of his era that his performances are highly suspicious and have left a scar across cycling.

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Has anyone ridden using Camap since? Its all Sram and Shimano on the podium now, and electronic :winkold:

and you are right I'm afraid :oops:

If I race next year, the missus said I could have a new bike (likely to be the last one I buy). Of the 2 frames I looked at (Cervelo and LaPierre) both had got Shimano stickers already on them !!

Back to Lance. I know we have discussed this before and I've no idea if he was a 'charger' or not - he did alter his body shape dramatically but who knows. What he did do was raise the profile of the sport and if that means drivers take a bit more notice of all VTers(and others) who ride bikes then that can only be good.

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If I race next year, the missus said I could have a new bike (likely to be the last one I buy). Of the 2 frames I looked at (Cervelo and LaPierre) both had got Shimano stickers already on them !!

Go for a custom build Titanium. I ve got a Hampsten and its the business (even if that time trialling bike flew past me this morning!)

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Has anyone ridden using Camap since? Its all Sram and Shimano on the podium now, and electronic :winkold:

and you are right I'm afraid :oops:

If I race next year, the missus said I could have a new bike (likely to be the last one I buy). Of the 2 frames I looked at (Cervelo and LaPierre) both had got Shimano stickers already on them !!

Back to Lance. I know we have discussed this before and I've no idea if he was a 'charger' or not - he did alter his body shape dramatically but who knows. What he did do was raise the profile of the sport and if that means drivers take a bit more notice of all VTers(and others) who ride bikes then that can only be good.

I can kind of see how the not training/cancer treatment would have allowed the shape change, and lets face it, noone has a clue what he was taking as well as his chemo to keep himself in shape........ I love the whole story and would be heartbroke if the myth I have bought into proves to be a lie.

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This is the whole thing thats protected him from proper scrutiny. People want to believe because it is a great story, and Armstrong for all his detractors has done wonders for Cancer research and awareness. However so many questions remain and he has failed imo to prove he hasn’t got a case to answer. The fact that he (and his associates_ wouldn’t talk to the USADA, whilst say Hincapie did speaks volume...

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You raise some fair point Paulo and thanks for taking the time to do so, I can't pretend to have your depth of knowledge on the subject.

You say though he has 'failed to prove he hasn't got a case to answer' well aside from the fact I'm not quite sure how he could do that retrospectively? In any case, shouldn't it be down to others to prove he has a case to answer rather than down to him to prove he hasn't?

It still from my limited knowledge looks like people deem him guilt by association and suspicion rather than anything remotely close to fact or evidence.

I admit there is a very large part of me that wants him to be innocent, it seems to me that there are large parts of others (not you) that want him to be guilty.

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The fact that he’s refused to meet the USADA seems strange to me. If you have nothing to hide then why hide?

Personally I think if he supplied all the answers to all the questions then he would have nothing to fear. Take this

Case discusses possible cover up of alleged 2001 Tour de Suisse positive for EPO

Dr. Michael Ashenden, a former independent member of the UCI's passport panel, has reacted to news of USADA’s charges against Lance Armstrong, noting his concern that the charges have implications for the UCI’s credibility.

Ashenden’s reaction is based on USADA’s letter to Armstrong and five other individuals charged with doping violations in a time span stretching from 1998 to 2010. However Ashenden’s concern does not relate to the alleged use of banned substances such as EPO or human growth hormone, but an alleged cover up of a doping control at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

Armstrong took part in the race and, according to USADA, several witnesses have given testimony that Armstrong told them that a positive test had been covered up. Two former teammates, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, have both gone on record to substantiate the claims.

USADA’s letter of notification also includes reference to their own interview with the Lausanne lab director, Dr Martial Saugy, who conducted the tests in 2001. Saugy told USADA that Armstrong’s samples were indicative of EPO use. In May 2011 Saugy admitted to attending a meeting with former US Postal sports director Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong to discuss details of the early EPO test method.

“For me the thing that has the most far-reaching consequence is that several witnesses said that Armstrong talked about having a test result covered up,” Ashenden told Cyclingnews.

“That has enormous implications. If the evidence supports that charge it’s likely to descend cycling, which is already fending off a fair bit of criticism, into chaos. It’s hard to understate the ramifications. If Armstrong believed that he had a test that was covered up then that story doesn’t just end with him being sanctioned or not because other people must have been complicit with Armstrong.”

Whether the EPO gel in question was positive, suspicious or negative is secondary to the fact that according to multiple witnesses, Armstrong thought he had had one of his results covered up. He can’t cover it up himself so he must have believed that he’d influenced someone to cover up his result. That points to the UCI, and infers that Armstrong believed at the time that he had the capacity to influence their actions.

The UCI has steadfastly denied any allegations of such a cover up, moving as far as opening legal proceedings against Floyd Landis. However Cyclingnews understands that the American has not received notification of any legal suit in the last two years.

Rather unfortunately for the UCI they have also faced scrutiny over donations made by Armstrong to their bank accounts. Armstrong made two donations to the UCI during his racing career. The seven-time Tour de France winner signed a personal cheque for $25,000 in 2002 and then his management company Capital Sports and Entertainment made a second payment of $100,000 in 2005.

The UCI in 2010 that the money was used in the fight against doping and in July of that year UCI President Pat McQuaid showed Cyclingnews a photocopy of the invoice of the Sysmex blood testing machine that a large part of Armstrong's $100,000 donation was used to buy. He refused to let us take a photograph of it, keeping it in a file marked 'Confidential'.

“The credibility of USADA’s witnesses who made those statements is obviously crucial, and would need to be weighed by the independent arbitrators who would decide upon a case if it were eventually opened. But if the account they have is compelling, and corroborative, then the UCI are inevitably going to be drawn into this,” Ashenden said.

“I know the UCI have strenuously denied this allegation in the past, but the story has added gravity now because USADA believe that there is sufficient evidence to warrant mentioning the issue in their notice letter. The UCI have a duty to the fans and the public in general to police their sport without fear or favor. If it were found that they had in any way been involved in a cover up then it would be fatal for their credibility,”

One of the things is that Landis has accused the governing body of covering up the alleged failed drug test of Armstrong in 2001. Thats a fairly damning accusation. So much so that the governing body, the UCI said it would sue Landis. Two years have passed and neither the UCI or Armstrong have sued Landis over this. Landis is of course a failed doper, and its easy enough to say he’s got an axe to grind. but maybe he’s telling the truth. The fact that CBS ran the Tyler Hamilton story and stood by in the face of Armstrong’s threat suggest this story has a pretty strong legal case.

I don’t want anyone innocent charged, but having watched how drugs destroy sport (and lives) I want the guilty one’s charged and bought to task. I think the UCI, Armstrong and associates have to properly explain what actually happened. They haven’t imo.

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Have just noticed this topic.

Where do you guys think this will go from here?

I reckon the USADA must have a strong case or else they would have left things were the Federal inquiry did.

Armstrong and his legal team must be deciding whether to fight this, which if he loses and is found guilty would mean losing everything and possibly inviting the Feds to reopen their case as he could be accused of perjury. It also brings the UCI into the picture re. the Tour of Switzerland 'cover up'.

Or else he could try and do a deal with USADA and come to a settlement with them over when he was guilty. They might take his last tour victory from him and then agree to move on?

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