Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been formally charged by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) with doping offences relating to EPO, blood transfusions, the use of testosterone and so called ‘masking agents’ during the period between 1998 and 2011. Armstrong confirmed on Twitter that he had received the 15 page letter from the USADA and has, obviously, strenuously denied all charges. All this despite the fact that the US Attorney’s Office dropped its own investigation into the misuse of federal funds (for doping) back in February – these allegations relating to Armstrong’s tenure with the US Postal Team. It is believed that the new charges are based, in part, on the anecdotal evidence of former riders Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton (both proven doping cheats) which formed a central part of the Attorney General’s Office’s aborted investigations.
Armstrong’s rebuttal has been both swift and characteristically robust; posting a statement on his website (lancearmstrong.com) that reads: ‘AUSTIN, TX – June 13, 2012 – 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.’
It continues, ‘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.’
Cyclo will keep you posted…
Image courtesy and (c) lancearmstrong.com