USADA grants extension to Armstrong over re-submitted Federal action
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

USADA grants extension to Armstrong over re-submitted Federal action

by Shane Stokes at 4:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Clock continues to tick for Bruyneel, who must make decision by Saturday

USADAFollowing a re-submitting yesterday of his complaint to a federal court in Texas to try to fight the US Anti Doping Agency’s doping charges against him, USADA has today confirmed that it has allowed Lance Armstrong and his legal team a time extension for that court to make its decision.

“USADA has granted Mr. Armstrong a brief extension of up to 30 days to contest the doping charges until the court dismisses the lawsuit or rules on any preliminary injunction,” said the agency in a statement. Armstrong was told on June 12th that he was facing likely charges in relation to an alleged serious doping conspiracy, as were five others. Also named were his former US Postal Service team manager Johan Bruyneel, doctors Michele Ferrari, Pedro Celaya and Luis Garcia del Moral, plus the coach Pepe Marti.

Those charges were assessed by USADA’s review panel and on June 29 it announced that there was sufficient evidence to make the case official. The agency told the six accused that they were facing up to a lifetime ban from sport, with Armstrong also potentially facing the loss of all seven of his Tour de France titles.

While Armstrong has decided to fight the action, three of the six have already been punished. Ferrari, Del Moral and Marti did not respond to USADA before Monday’s deadline and, in not contesting the charges, were yesterday handed lifetime bans.

Celaya has opted for arbitration, meaning that his case will be held sometime in the next few months, while both Armstrong and Bruyneel requested an extension from USADA. Both were told that they had until July 14th to decide whether they would accept the charges, or if they would ask for an arbitration hearing.

Federal action involves Armstrong, but not Bruyneel:

On Monday Armstrong’s legal team filed a lengthy application to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in his home town of Austin. It sought to overturn the USADA charges against him on several different grounds but later that day, the same court threw out the complaint. United States District Judge Sam Sparks found several faults with the application, including the length of it, and what he said were a number of irrelevant ‘allegations’ which he said were ‘included solely to increase media coverage of this case, and to incite public opinion against Defendants.’

He said that Armstrong and his legal team had twenty days to re-file the complaint in a better format. They did so yesterday, protesting about USADA on several different grounds.

Amongst the claims made were that USADA violates the constitutional rights of athletes, that the agency lacks the necessary jurisdiction to charge those athletes, and that that it may have violated federal law in its investigation.

His legal team requested the court to make a decision by Saturday, the deadline for Armstrong to either accept USADA’s charges and sanctions or to opt for an arbitration hearing.

Today’s extension of up to thirty days means that this looming deadline has been released and, as a result of that, Armstrong’s legal team has dropped a temporary restraining order that it had filed. Its revised complaint remains, however.

USADA has commented on the attempts to sidestep its action, saying that it believes the judge will rule in the agency’s favour. “USADA believes this lawsuit, like previous lawsuits aimed at concealing the truth, is without merit and is confident the court will continue to uphold the established rules which are compliant with federal law and were approved by athletes, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and all Olympic sports organizations.”

The thirty day extension does not apply to Bruyneel, who is not part of the federal case. USADA confirmed to VeloNation today that Armstrong’s former directeur sportif and team manager has until Saturday to either accept the charges and sanctions, or to go forward to arbitration.

He is yet to indicate what he will do. Unless he wins his case, he is facing a lifetime ban from cycling and other sports.


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