U.S. Anti Doping Agency Charges Lance Armstrong With Doping He Could Be Stripped Of His Seven Tour De France Titles!!!

Acclaimed champion and accused cheat, Lance Armstrong still hasn’t distanced himself from all those chasing after him.

  • Lance Armstrong attends the 2012 Paris Roubaix cycle race from Compiegne to Roubaix on April 8, 2012 in Paris.Bryn Lennon, Getty Images

    Lance Armstrong attends the 2012 Paris Roubaix cycle race from Compiegne to Roubaix on April 8, 2012 in Paris.

 

Lance Armstrong attends the 2012 Paris Roubaix cycle race from Compiegne to Roubaix on April 8, 2012 in Paris.

Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner who earlier this year saw a two-year federal investigation into his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs dropped without any charges being filed, has been thrown back into the spotlight of doping suspicions.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has formally charged Armstrong and five former members of his support staff — three doctors, a trainer and a team manager — of engaging in a massive doping conspiracy from 1998 to 2011.

Armstrong won the Tour de France seven consecutive times, from 1999 to 2005, becoming the idol of cycling fans and the hero of millions of fellow cancer survivors.

Armstrong: Key recent events

Allegations of performance-enhancing drug use followed Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong throughout his career and even after. A look at some of the recent developments:

May 2010: Floyd Landis, who won the Tour in 2006 but was stripped of the title for drug use, admits to cheating and accuses Armstrong of doping in a series of emails to sponsors and sports officials.

Summer-Fall 2010: Federal investigators call several prominent cyclists and others with Armstrong ties to testify before a Los Angeles-based grand jury probe into pro cycling. Armstrong’s lawyers complain about leaks to the media regarding witnesses.

November 2010: An American delegation including lead federal investigator Jeff Novitzky, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, and prosecutor Doug Miller holds secret meetings in France with European authorities as part of the probe.

February 2011: Armstrong retires from cycling for the second and final time.

May 2011: Former Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton, a cyclist with a record of doping, tells “60 Minutes” that Armstrong took blood-booster EPO in the 1999 Tour and before the race in 2000 and 2001.

Feb. 4: Federal prosecutors announce they are closing their investigation of Armstrong without pressing charges. Tygart saysUSADA will continue to investigate.

June 13: USADA accuses Armstrong of doping, and charges his team manager, a team trainer and three doctors with being involved. Armstrong has until June 29 to respond.

Source: The Associated Press

Armstrong, 40, who retired from cycling last year, could have his Tour de France titles stripped as a result of the charges.

USADA, in a letter to Armstrong dated June 12, said it has compiled expansive evidence against him.

Armstrong fired back with a defiant denial of the charges, as has become his custom.

“These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation,” Armstrong posted Wednesday to his more than 3.5 million followers on Twitter. “These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity.

“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.”

USADA’s letter includes previously unpublicized allegations against Armstrong, alleging blood samples taken from him in 2009 and 2010 were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”

The letter says numerous riders with firsthand knowledge will testify that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions and testosterone and that he trafficked in those drugs and administered them to other cyclists from 1998 to 2005. Witnesses will also testify, the letter says, that Armstrong used human growth hormone before 1996.

USADA oversees anti-doping in U.S. Olympic sports. It can bring charges that lead to suspensions and rescinding of titles but has no authority to bring criminal charges.

The case now is forwarded to a USADA review board, which examines written material only and recommends whether or not to proceed with a hearing before an arbitration panel. Armstrong has until June 22 to supply written materials to the review board.

The letter to Armstrong says that if a hearing is held, it should take place by Nov. 1 but could occur before then, a person familiar with the case told USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity.

An arbitration panel independent of USADA — likely a three-person panel made up ofAAA, CAS and North American Court of Arbitration for Sport arbitrators — will rule on whether violations took place and, if so, what the punishment will be.

Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA, said in a statement that he will not comment on the evidence.

David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees USADA, declined to assess the strength of the evidence but told USA TODAY Sports, “I think it’s significant that it’s not an athlete alone being charged. It’s an athlete/entourage. I think the charge is significant.”

Armstrong has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. This case is what is called non-analytical, because it is based on testimony, not lab results.

Howman, when asked if that makes the case against Armstrong weak, pointed to the sanctions against disgraced Olympic champion sprinter Marion Jones in a non-analytical case.

“There have been a lot of athletes who have faced sanctions through non-analytical evidence,” Howman said. “We do not rely on science only nowadays. You cannot accept that science alone will find those who might be breaching the rules. So this is not unusual. It’s something that’s becoming more normal and accepted.”

USADA’s letter and an earlier letter from one of Armstrong’s lawyers details the level of animosity that exists — and has for years — between USADA and Armstrong’s camp.

The USADA letter says that Armstrong’s team has engaged in an organized conspiracy to conceal and cover up doping conduct dating to 1999. It alleges a coverup took place and that it has witnesses who will prove “Lance Armstrong and other co-conspirators engaged in activities to conceal their conduct and mislead anti-doping authorities including … attempts to intimidate, discredit, silence and retaliate against witnesses.”

Last week, Armstrong’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, sent a letter to USADA declining the agency’s invitation to meet with Armstrong to discuss the allegations in person.

The June 8 letter, a copy of which was obtained by USA TODAY Sports, accuses USADA of conducting not an investigation but “a vendetta, which has nothing to do with learning the truth and everything to do with settling a score and garnering publicity at Lance’s expense.”

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