Chris Horner Misses Drugs Test

Chris Horner Misses Drugs TestChris Horner, who became the oldest Grand Tour race winner on Sunday with victory at the Vuelta a Espana has become embroiled in a row with anti-doping testers after apparently switching hotels to stay with his wife and missing a routine test.


In a strongly worded statement to the press Horner’s Team, RadioShack Leopard Trek, asked that: ‘the media to report correctly on this matter and will seek compensation for this matter with the responsible anti-doping agencies…’ RadioShack went as far as releasing an email from Horner to the officials, which, they say, substantiates his claims that he updated everyone on his whereabouts.


In their statement RadioShack said: ‘Chris Horner updated his whereabouts with USADA before the start of the final stage, giving the agency the name of his hotel for the night, phone number and room number for his one hour window between 6 and 7 AM. This is all according to the rules and Chris Horner received a confirmation email… The anti-doping inspectors from the Spanish Anti-doping Agency that were asked to do the test by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) showed up at the wrong hotel in Madrid, where the team was staying but Horner was obviously not to be found.’


They concluded their missive: ‘The team believes the communication between the Spanish Anti-doping Agency and the media is a violation of the privacy of Chris Horner, especially since it comes down to a clear mistake by the tester.’


Neither Horner nor the USADA (or their Spanish counterparts) have, so far, added any further comment or response.


Featured Features

Lance Armstrong: In Other Words

Lance Armstrong Oprah Winfrey confessionThe potential fallout from Lance Armstrong’s confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey is almost too much to comprehend; the retaliations, the potential legal actions, the possible out-of-court settlements, further revelations of complicity to come… What’s clear though is that pretty much everyone has something to say on the matter.


With this in mind Cyclo brings you some of the choicest quotes from around the world, but first thought it worth pointing out that this is the biographical information on the disgraced Texan still available at  ‘If scripted by Hollywood, the story would be dismissed as trite melodrama: A deadly disease strikes a promising athlete. Despite desperately thin odds, he manages not only to beat the affliction but also to return to the sport and win its top prize, not once but a record seven times. Unbelievable, except it’s true.’ – Yeh, except as we now know, it’s not…


‘(The interview was) nothing but a public relations exercise… If he’d wanted to come clean and seek redemption I would hope that he would seek some appropriate tribunal and give evidence under oath, subject himself to cross-examination and tell the facts. Not just the snippets that he sees is convenient for his own purposes.’ – John Fahey, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President


‘To me (the interview) just seemed like a pantomime because Lance Armstrong should be in court, in front of a jury answering the hard questions… ‘ – Nicole Cooke, speaking to BBC Sports


‘When he says he’s sorry now, how do we know he’s not still lying? How do we know it’s not just another great performance by the all-time leader in them?’ – Rick Reilly, sportswriter, long-term (ex?) friend and previous defender of Armstrong,


‘There are lawyers across the country representing various interests who are recording that interview. From a legal perspective, his issues are becoming more difficult, not less. I don’t see that he solved any problems. I think he opened the door on others.’ – Matt Orwig, former Federal Prosecutor


‘Tonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit. His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.’ – Travis Tygart, CEO of the Untied States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)


‘It was disturbing to watch him describe a litany of offences including among others doping throughout his career, leading a team that doped, bullying, consistently lying to everyone and producing a backdated medical prescription to justify a test result. However, Lance Armstrong also rightly said that cycling is a completely different sport today than it was 10 years ago. In particular the UCI’s introduction of the biological passport in 2008 – the first sports federation to do so – has made a real difference in the fight against doping… Finally, we note that Lance Armstrong expressed a wish to participate in a truth and reconciliation process, which we would welcome.’ – Pat McQuaid, UCI President


‘Armstrong has destroyed anyone who has been successful in cycling… I get pissed off when I hear that you can’t win the Tour without doping. Look at Andy Hampsten (winner of the 1988 Giro d’Italia, third in the 1989 Giro and fourth in the TdF in 1986 and 1992) – there was no way he was on any doping program.’ – Greg LeMond, three-time TdF champion, now officially the only American to have won the race), speaking to Cyclingnews


‘If he doped while I raced with him, then I would have a lot to say, but how can I comment on 10 years ago?’ – Mark Cavendish, via Twitter


‘It (the interview) didn’t go nearly far enough… he has to name names, we need him to spell out the fact that his doctor, Michele Ferrari, doped him, that his team manager, Johan Bruyneel, supported him. That’s the kind of detail that will help us move forward in a way that helps cycling.’ – David Walsh, the journalist that first raised questions over Armstrong’s integrity, Speaking on BBC Breakfast


‘Forget about trying to judge his contrition level. Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. Oprah’s interview, with all due respect to her and her efforts to do a credible job, is window dressing. Armstrong can make a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge about doping whether he’s sincerely sorry or not. But very little of what he said Thursday night leads me to believe he’s ready to do that.’ – Bonnie Ford, journalist


‘If you never met this jerk, well, count your blessings.’ – Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports


‘I’m really disappointed. He owed it to me. You owed it to me Lance, and you dropped the ball. After what you’ve done to me, what you’ve done to my family, and you couldn’t own up to it. And now we’re supposed to believe you?’ – Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong’s former USPS teammate Frankie Andreu, speaking on CNN


And finally (for now):


‘The only thing more abhorrent than Armstrong being a recidivist drugs offender, is the years of repeat denials and bullying of anyone who challenged his integrity. And the only thing more abhorrent than all of that is the charade, stage-managed, televised confessional’ – Editor,



The UCI versus… Well, Everyone

UCI doping talks with UCIICSomething of a standoff has developed between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the independent commission it established (the UCIIC) to investigate the culture of doping in the sport. Whilst the UCIIC is adamant that an amnesty for those ready to admit to past misdemeanors is essential if a full and frank picture of the drugs landscape is to be revealed the UCI have reject any such measures. A result of the difference of opinion is that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Untied States Anti-Doping Agency – the USADA, who doggedly pursued Armstrong – plus pressure group Change Cycling Now (CCN) will not be involved in proceedings. In an attempt to resolve all party differences the UCIIC has requested an emergency meeting to address the issue directly with the UCI; it has been suggested that the meeting will be held at some point after January 21, and that it will take place in London, in public.


On the subject of the UCI’s reluctance for any form of amnesty, Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA, has stated: ‘UCI’s refusal to agree to allow a limited opportunity for riders to come forward and be truthful without fear of retribution or retaliation from the UCI obviously calls into question the UCI’s commitment to a full and thorough investigation and creates grave concern that the UCI has blindfolded and handcuffed this Independent Commission to ensure a pre-determined outcome.  The current terms of reference are not good for clean athletes or moving this sport forward to a better future.’



Armstrong Coming Clean?

Lance Armstrong confession New York TimesAccording to the New York Times Lance Armstrong may be on the verge of publicly confessing all. Accused, along with his US Postal Service team, by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of running ‘…the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen’, Armstrong could, according to the paper, be considering coming clean (so to speak) in order to be able to resume his triathlon ambitions. Coyly, however, the Texan’s layer, Tim Herman, told the NY Times that on the subject of mea culpa Armstrong would have to ‘…speak for himself on that.’ It has been claimed that Armstrong met with USADA Chief Executive Ty Tygart to discuss moving forward, something that Herman has so far denied.


The paper further suggested that Armstrong was seeking to meet with David Howman, Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), but in a statement they said: ‘To date, WADA has had no official approach from Mr. Armstrong or his legal representatives, but – as with anyone involved in anti-doping violations – it would welcome any discussion that helps in the fight against doping in sport.’



Armstrong Banned and Stripped of Titles by UCI

The UCI has confirmed that it will sanction the USADA report into doping by Lance Armstrong and effectively wipe him from the (positive) history of the sport.  In a statement they said, ‘It (the UCI) will not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and it will recognise the sanction that USADA has imposed. The UCI will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling and the UCI will strip him of his seven Tour de France titles. Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling.’ The statement at the live press conference continued: ‘The UCI will also recognise the sanctions imposed upon the riders that testified against Lance Armstrong, the UCI indeed thanks them for telling their stories… The UCI likewise has nothing to hide in responding to the USADA report’.  The UCI has called a special meeting of the UCI Management Committee to discuss the report and the measures that need put into place to ensure that nothing of this nature again blights the sport.



Johan Bruyneel and RadioShack Part Company

RadioShack Nissan Trek have announced that they are formally ending their collaboration with General Manager Johan Bruyneel as a result of the United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA) report into the Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team drugs investigation. Thanking Bruyneel for ‘…his dedication and devotion since his arrival in the Team,’ the RadioShack statement made clear that the decision was a ‘mutual agreement’ and were at pains to point out that the allegations against him were of a historical nature and in no way related to his time with the team. The statement continued:  ‘The Reasoned Decision published by the USADA included a number of testimonies as a result of their investigation. In light of these testimonies, both parties feel it is necessary to make this decision since Johan Bruyneel can no longer direct the Team in an efficient and comfortable way.  His departure is desirable to ensure the serenity and cohesiveness within the Team.’


Bruyneel was Armstrong’s Team Manager during his seven Tour de France wins, but was contacted, along with Armstrong, Dr. Pedro Celaya, Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, Dr. Michele Ferrari and Mr. Jose Marti by the USADA on June 12 informing them that they were, ‘…opening a formal action against each of you based on evidence that… you engaged in anti-doping rule violations… from 1998 to [the] present.’


The 1000-page USADA report (known as ‘The Reasoned Decision’) stated, amongst many other things, ‘As a consequence of a number of courageous riders willingness to break the Code of Silence – the “omerta” – after being approached by USADA, by late May 2012 USADA concluded it had more than enough evidence to proceed with charges against former USPS and Discovery Channel Team Director Johan Bruyneel.’


For his part Bruyneel has made it clear that he contests both the validity of the USADA procedure as well as the charges against him.


Featured Features

Lance Armstrong: The Long Fall

We have only just begun to see the fallout from the case brought by the United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA) against Lance Armstrong; when you shake a sport – any sport – this hard a depressingly large number of things have a tendency to fall out of the tree. But with the whole sorry affair involving not only Armstrong and the USADA, but also US Federal Law, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), numerous ex-team-mates and the US Postal team – to name but a few – it has often proved to be a tough case to follow. Cyclo have waded through the last four months of developments to highlight the key points in the case against Lance Armstrong


June 12: The United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA) announce proceedings against Lance Armstrong with regards to the alleged use of performance enhancer EPO, blood transfusions, the use of testosterone and so called ‘masking agents’ during the period 1998 – 2011, despite the fact that the US Attorney’s Office dropped its own investigation into the misuse of federal funds (for doping) back in February.


Armstrong confirmed on Twitter that he had received the 15 page letter from the USADA and strenuously denies all charges.


June 13: Calling the actions of the USAD a ‘witch hunt’, Armstrong Tweets: ‘Dear @usantidoping – we have now sent you THREE letters requesting all the relevant info in order for me to respond to your “review board”.’ Adding: ‘Until now there has been no response, not even an acknowledgement of receipt. The knife cuts both ways – it’s time to play by the rules.’


Armstrong releases his official statement which begins, ‘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 charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity.’


He 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…’ Armstrong’s full statement here.


June 22: Lance Armstrong’s legal team send a lengthy letter to the USADA Review Board refuting the charges from June 12. Couched in as-to-be-expected legal language, the letter describes the allegations as being, ‘…long on stale allegations disproved long ago and short on evidence.’ The 18 page letter goes on to state the view that the USAD had ‘abused its powers and this (review) process. To read the full letter click here.


June 29: Despite the legal approach of Armstrong and his representatives the USAD Review Board unanimously agree that charges should be brought, meaning that the case will proceed to arbitration should Armstrong continue to challenge them.


July 5: Armstrong tweets three messages to his followers:


‘So let me get this straight…come in and tell @usantidoping exactly what they wanted to hear…’


‘ exchange for immunity, anonymity, and the opportunity to continue to race the biggest event in cycling..’


‘This isn’t about @usantidoping wanting to clean up cycling – rather it’s just plain ol’ selective prosecution that reeks of vendetta.’


July 9: In what appears to be a final, desperate bid for legal recourse Armstrong files a federal lawsuit in an attempt to halt the USADA case. US District Judge Sam Sparks rejects the lawsuit almost out of hand, calling it, ‘a lengthy and bitter polemic’. However Sparks does allow Armstrong’s lawyers to file an amended lawsuit.


July 10: Former US Postal associates of Armstrong – team doctor Luis Garcia del Moral, consulting doctor Michele Ferrari and trainer Jose ‘Pepe’ Marti – are all given lifelong bans from sport by the USADA for violating anti-doping regulations.


Armstrong had previously called Ferrari, ‘a friend and a trusted adviser’ – but all formal links were reportedly broken after Ferrari was convicted (though later acquitted) of sporting fraud in 2004.


Ferrari calls the charges against him ‘false and ridiculous’, claiming he had never witnessed doping within pro cycling teams. The fact that his ban had technically been handed down because ‘he had not responded to or contested the charges (from the USADA)’ complicates matters as he claims he never received any official communication from them and only learned of his fate from the media. Oddly the UCI claim that Ferrari didn’t even hold a current training license.


July 11: The USADA give Armstrong a further 30 days to respond to their charges against him.


August 5: Until this point the UCI had remained somewhat tight-lipped on the subject, but now appeared to put their heads above the parapet saying that they felt the dispute over who should hear the case against Armstrong should be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).


August 20: US District Judge Sam Sparks rejects the amended lawsuit from Armstrong’s legal team which was again attempting to halt the actions of the USADA.


August 23: The watershed moment for Armstrong. He publicly announces that he will no longer fight the USADA allegations beginning his statement, ‘There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.” For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart’s unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.’


He concludes, ‘Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.’ To read Armstrong’s statement in full, see here.


August 24: In response to Armstrong’s statement the USAD strips him of his seven Tour de France titles and deals him a lifetime ban. However these actions still require the sanction of governing body the UCI. The development divides the media and cycling fans alike…


August 26: Writing in Armstrong’s defence in the LA Times, Michael Hiltzik says, ‘It’s not that the case will be seen as a major victory for sports anti-doping authorities. It’s that the anti-doping system claiming its highest-profile quarry ever is the most thoroughly one-sided and dishonest legal regime anywhere in the world this side of Beijing.’


September 3: In a Newsweek cover-story entitled ‘I Still Believe in Lance Armstrong’, Buzz Bissinger writes, ‘I believe his decision had nothing to do with fear of being found guilty in a public setting before an arbitration panel, but the emotional and mental toll of years and years of fighting charges that have never been officially substantiated—despite stemming all the way back to 1999.’


September 7: Pat McQuaid, the UCI President, states that they have no intention of appealing the USADA decision to ban Armstrong and strip him of his TdF titles unless the USADA’s case file gives ‘serious reasons to do otherwise.’ However that case file has still not been made available to the UCI, a fact that is clearly beginning to rile the governing body.


September 27: The UCI fires its fiercest salvo yet at the USADA for its continuing failure to make available the case file. In a strongly worded press release Pat McQuaid, states: ‘It is over a month since USADA sanctioned Lance Armstrong. We thought that USADA were better prepared before initiating these proceedings… The UCI had no reason to assume that a full case file did not exist but USADA’s continued failure to produce the decision is now a cause for concern… It seems that it would have been more useful for USADA to have used the time of the Tour de France, the Olympic Games and the Road World Championships to prepare their case in full rather than to make announcements.’


McQuaid’s statement also contained the rather withering comment: The UCI assumes that the reasons for any difficulty in putting the evidence together will be explained in USADA’s decision…’ Read the full press release here.


October 3: To further complicate the UCI/Armstrong/USADA case a Swiss court finds former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis (one of those who gave evidence to the USADA against Armstrong) guilty of defamation against the UCI.


Landis had made allegation during a German TV interview back in 2010 regarding payments from Armstrong in exchange for the UCI’s silence over a positive test in the 2001 Tour de Suisse. The UCI, for their part, concured that a payment of $100,000 (£62,200) was offered and accepted, but that this was a donation to help finance anti-doping measures. Landis is banned from repeating the allegations, ordered to pay compensation of 10,000 Swiss Francs (£6,630) to both current and former UCI presidents Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen and obliged to publish the courts verdict at his own expense in a number of publications including L’Equipe and the Wall Street Journal.


October 10: The USADA release its statement ahead of the full case file. It makes for damming reading, accusing Armstrong not only of doping but of personally overseeing ‘…the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.’ The agency claims its evidence shows ‘beyond any doubt’ that Armstrong was personally responsible for the culture of drug abuse and cheating that included systematic bullying and grooming of young riders to ‘…pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices.’ Read the full statement here.


Armstrong ?tweets: ‘What am I doing tonight? Hanging with my family, unaffected, and thinking about this (a link to LIVESTRONG)’


The USADA finally make their full report available both publicly and to the UCI. The 1000 page document includes testimonial evidence against Armstrong from 11 former team-mates: Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie. The full case file is available as a PDF here.


The UCI has 21 days to respond to the USADA evidence and to either accept or challenge the agency’s stripping of the TdF titles and imposed lifetime ban.


Reaction is both mixed and at times surprising as the case continues to divide the cycling community. Dave Brailsford, Head of British Cycling comments, ‘Lance Armstrong has made it hard for anyone to trust the sport in its entirety.’ Whilst Team Sky’s Alex Dowsett speaking at the Tour of Beijing shrugged off the charges, saying, ‘I don’t think it really matters, he’s still a legend in the sport…’


It remains to be seen what the full ramifications of this case will be. It certainly has the potential to shake the reputation of the sport far beyond the now seemingly shattered reputation of Lance Armstrong. As always, Cyclo will keep you posted…



It’s Not About the Bike Then?

As the latest chapter in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal unfolds today it looks like we could be on the brink of the greatest fall in sporting history; but then the Texan with his seven Tour de France titles, legion of fans, and huge business and charity empire has so much further to fall than most. The release, both publicly and to the sport’s governing body, the UCI, of the United States Anti-Doping Agency findings makes for grim reading. Running to 1000 pages and with a wealth of testimonial and other evidence, including statements from eleven of Armstrong’s former USPS team-mates, accuses him not only of doping but of personally overseeing ‘…the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.’ The agency claims its evidence shows ‘beyond any doubt’ that Armstrong was personally responsible for the culture of drug abuse and cheating that included systematic bullying and grooming of young riders to ‘…pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices.’


Armstrong has continually called the USADA’s actions a ‘witch hunt’, with his lawyer describing the report as a, ‘one-sided hatchet job.’ The only immediate reaction from the 41-year old has come via Twitter on which he posted, ‘What am I doing tonight? Hanging with my family, unaffected, and thinking about this.’


The UCI has 21 days to respond to the USADA evidence and to either accept or challenge the agency’s stripping of the TdF titles and imposed lifetime ban. The full USADA report, along with evidence and testimonials, is available online at