Travis Tygart Interview: Armstrong’s results from August 1st 1998 will be stripped
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Travis Tygart Interview: Armstrong’s results from August 1st 1998 will be stripped

by Shane Stokes at 12:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Doping
 
USADA CEO speaks after Texan indicates he won’t contest doping charges

UsadaHead of the US Anti-Doping Agency Travis Tygart has said that USADA plans to strip all of Lance Armstrong’s results from 1998 onwards, as well as imposing a lifetime ban on the Texan.

Armstrong indicated Thursday that he did not intend to contest USADA’s doping charges against him, saying that the process has been a witch hunt and that he wanted to get on with his life.

Tygart had previously been tight-lipped on the US Postal Service investigation but with Armstrong’s process now officially over, he was able to answer a number of questions put to him by VeloNation. He said that the evidence in relation to the case would emerge once the other arbitration hearings concluded, and that he had expected Armstrong to choose his current course of action rather than fight the charges.

“He knows all the evidence as well and he knows the truth, and so the smarter move on his part is to attempt to hide behind baseless accusations of process,” he said.

VeloNation: The long-running investigation into Lance Armstrong appears to be at an end now, with the rider saying he doesn’t want to go before an arbitration panel and contest the case. How do you react to this development?

Travis Tygart: It is obviously a sad day for all sports fans when there is a realisation that any athlete has decided to use performance enhancing drugs in order to win. On the other hand, it is a reassuring message to clean athletes of all generations that their decision not to use those drugs was the right one and will be supported by the entities in place to ensure a level playing field.

VN: Were you satisfied with evidence that you had amassed, and were you confident in your case?

TT: Absolutely. We never would have brought a case if we were not extremely confident in the level of evidence. And the truth – at the end of the day, our job is to search for truth and justice, to expose the full truth and ensure, to the best of our ability, perfect justice.

VN: Are you surprised by what happened, that this didn’t go to arbitration?

TT: No, I think it was our expectation from the beginning. He knows all the evidence as well and he knows the truth, and so the smarter move on his part is to attempt to hide behind baseless accusations of process. It is pretty telling because the federal court was crystal clear on Monday that our process meets constitutional due process, and that is the appropriate forum for the evidence to be presented and all the arguments to be made.

VN: It was said before that the likely sanctions would be a lifetime ban and the loss of seven Tour titles – will that be the case?

TT: Yes…the charges were not contested, so what automatically goes into place will be a lifetime ban from any participation from any sport which recognises the WADA Code and disqualification from all results, including ant Tour de France victories, any other victories and placings beginning August 1st 1998 to the present.

VN: Armstrong’s lawyers have said in a letter to USADA that USADA can’t impose these sanctions, and have threatened legal action if they go through. Do you have any concerns about that?

TT: No, they have already taken legal action and the federal judge told them we do have authority and our process is the process where those complaints can be made. It is kind of funny that they walking away from a process, but are threatening to attempt to go back to somewhere else to fight. It is a little ironic but, no…it means nothing.

VN: There was reportedly a lot of evidence in the case, there was witness testimony and presumably more…do you expect any of those details to emerge?

TT: Yes, absolutely…at the right time. Obviously there are other cases that are alleged to be involved in the conspiracy. Their cases are still proceeding, so it will be in due course.

VN: So there is no impediment to USADA releasing the evidence?

TT: No, no.

VN: Finally, Armstrong’s lawyers claimed again today that this is a waste of taxpayers’ money – how would you respond to that?

TT: I think cheating with dangerous drugs in sport is an important public health issue, it is the number one issue that clean athletes are concerned about. It is why we are in existence. If people don’t think it is important and we shouldn’t do our job, then shut us down.

But that is not what the overwhelming majority of clean athletes want and it’s certainly not what any sport entity wants….to have a drug-infested sport that is won by those who have the most professionalised doping programmes.

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