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USADA releases Lance Armstrong allegations report

Lance Armstrong appears in this undated file photo.
October 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report detailing doping accusations against cycling champion Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles. USADA has recommended the titles be stripped from Armstrong.

USADA released a 150-page report with allegations from 11 former teammates Wednesday. The teammates say drugs were delivered and administered to Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service and the Discovery Channel cycling teams. The report also details Armstrong's relationship with a doctor who was sanctioned in Italy and has been banned from the sport.

The report alleges that Armstrong's ex-wife, Kristin, handed out banned cortisone pills under Armstrong's orders to other teammates. She is mentioned 30 times in the report.

The USADA report released Wednesday covers 1998 through 2009:

- Multiple examples of Armstrong using the blood-boosting hormone EPO, citing the "clear finding" of EPO in six blood samples from the 1999 Tour de France that were retested. UCI concluded those samples were mishandled and couldn't be used to prove anything. In bringing up the samples, USADA said it considers them corroborating evidence that isn't necessary given the testimony of its witnesses.

- Testimony from three teammates who said they received EPO from Armstrong.

- Evidence of the pressure Armstrong put on the riders to go along with the doping program.

- One teammate cited "an outstanding early warning system regarding drug tests." One example came in 2000, when a teammate found out there were drug testers at the hotel where Armstrong's team was staying. Aware Armstrong had taken testosterone before the race, he alerted him and Armstrong dropped out of the race to avoid being tested, the report said.

Armstrong did not fight the USADA charges, but insists he never cheated.

His attorney, Tim Herman, called the report "a one-sided hatchet job - a taxpayer funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories."

Aware of the criticism his agency has faced from Armstrong and his legion of followers, USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart insisted his group handled this case under the same rules as any other. He pointed out that Armstrong was given the chance to take his case to arbitration and he declined, choosing in August to accept the sanctions instead.

In some ways, the USADA report simply pulls together and amplifies allegations that have followed Armstrong ever since he beat cancer and won the Tour for the first time. At various times and in different forums, Landis, Hamilton and others have said that Armstrong encouraged doping on his team and used banned substances himself.

While the arguments about Armstrong will continue among sports fans - and there is still a question of whether USADA or the International Cycling Union (UCI) has ultimate control of taking away his Tour titles - the new report puts a cap on a long round of official investigations. Armstrong was cleared of criminal charges in February after a federal grand jury probe that lasted about two years.

Tygart said evidence from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the U.S. Postal Service team's doping activities, provided material for the report.

Armstrong chose not to pursue the case and instead accepted the sanction, though he has consistently argued that the USADA system was rigged against him, calling the agency's effort a "witch hunt" that used special rules it doesn't follow in all its other cases.

The UCI has asked for details of the case before it decides whether to sign off on the sanctions. It has has 21 days to appeal the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

USADA has said it doesn't need UCI's approval and Armstrong's penalties already are in place.

UCI President Pat McQuaid, who is in China for the Tour of Beijing, did not respond to telephone calls from The Associated Press requesting comment.

The report also will go to the World Anti-Doping Agency, which also has the right to appeal, but so far has supported USADA's position in the Armstrong case.

ASO, the company that runs the Tour de France and could have a say in where Armstrong's titles eventually go, said it has "no particular comment to make on this subject."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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