11 teammates testify against Armstrong in doping investigation

8:12 AM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
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The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday said it is releasing its evidence against Lance Armstrong - a dossier of more than 1,000 pages with sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 cyclists with knowledge of Armstrong's doping activities on the U.S. Postal Service Cycling team.

"The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," USADA chief executive officer Travis Tygart said in a statement.

USADA said the evidence includes "direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding."

Eleven Armstrong teammates testified against him and were suspended for their own doping: Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

"Together these different categories of eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence reveal conclusive and undeniable proof that brings to the light of day for the first time this systemic, sustained and highly professionalized team-run doping conspiracy," USADA said.

All of the material will be released this afternoon, USADA said.

Hincapie issued a statement Wednesday acknowledging that he used performance-enhancing drugs and saying he had been truthful with investigators.

"Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them. I deeply regret that choice and sincerely apologize to my family, teammates and fans," Hincapie's statement said.

Hincapie said he had talked to both federal investigators and USADA about his doping as well as the activities of teammates.

"I would have been much more comfortable talking only about myself, but understood that I was obligated to tell the truth about everything I knew. So that is what I did," his statement said.

USADA is releasing the report as required by its decision in August to give Armstrong a lifetime ban and strip him of his seven titles in the Tour de France. In June, the agency formally accused Armstrong and other team officials of using banned drugs and blood transfusions to gain an edge in competition over several years.

By rule, USADA was mandated by the World Anti-Doping Code to deliver a detailed report on its decision to the interested parties, which include the World Anti-Doping Agency and the athlete's international federation.

In this case, the Armstrong's international federation for cycling is the International Cycling Union (UCI). After receiving the report, UCI has 21 days to appeal the Armstrong sanctions. If an appeal is lodged, the matter will go to arbitration at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

UCI previously has been critical of USADA's case against Armstrong, questioning whether he received his due process. UCI also questioned the fairness of making deals with other riders to testify against Armstrong in exchange for less severe punishment for doping.

USADA shot back at UCI and accused the organization of having a lackluster record on doping and a cozy relationship with Armstrong. In "The Secret Race," the recent book by cyclist Tyler Hamilton, the author alleges Armstrong worked with UCI to have a positive drug test covered up at the Tour of Switzerland in 2001.

Armstrong could have fought USADA's charges by going to arbitration in front of a three-person panel, with one panelist picked by both sides and the other selected by the other two. But he claimed the process as "rigged" against him and announced in August he would no longer fight the charges.

He maintained his innocence, saying he never failed a drug test. USADA noted that Armstrong's team used sophisticated techniques to avoid testing positive and that there is no test for blood transfusions.

The Associated Press

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