Armstrong could be called to testify under oath in Bruyneel hearing
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Armstrong could be called to testify under oath in Bruyneel hearing

by Shane Stokes at 9:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
USADA head faced death threats, UCI to receive information this month

Lance ArmstrongLance Armstrong’s decision not to contest USADA’s charges against him came as a surprise to many, but one possible reason was avoiding giving evidence under oath if USADA’s case against him was indeed sound.

In November 2005 the Texan insisted in a sworn statement that he had never used banned substances, speaking about the matter when he gave a deposition under oath in relation to the SCA Promotions case. If his arbitration hearing had proceeded, he would have been called and again required to give sworn evidence.

However, in electing not to dispute the charges, the arbitration case stopped and he was not obliged to speak under oath.

That doesn’t mean the end of the matter, though. According to USADA CEO Travis Tygart, Armstrong could yet find himself questioned as part of the arbitration hearing of his former team manager Johan Bruyneel.

“I don't know what he [Bruyneel] is hoping for, he has everything to lose,” Tygart told l’Equipe in an interview printed today. “Gaining more time? Profiting from the inertia of the system? He will be heard before the end of the year. The hearing will be public.

"Lance Armstrong could be heard as a witness in this case, under oath, like the others. If there's perjury, it's serious...”

Bruyneel is facing the same lifetime ban that Armstrong has already been handed. If found guilty, he would no longer be able to work in cycling or any other sports governed by the WADA Code. He said precisely one month ago that he hoped to be able to sidestep the hearing he had previously opted for.

“I hope that it will soon be determined that the case that USADA initiated against me should never have gotten as far as it has,” he said in a brief statement on his website. However since then there have been no indications that his case will stop.

Death threats, UCI request for evidence and rejected co-operation:

Tygart was speaking to l’Equipe at the USADA headquarters in Colorado, and revealed that anti-doping investigations have meant he and others have to be very careful about their safety. “The BALCO case changed everything. We received death threats for the first time,” he said. “Two for Terry Madden, my predecessor, and, later, one for me and my family when the first Landis confessions came out. The FBI dealt with them. We reacted quickly.”

He added that USADA is now inaccessible to visitors and security cameras are permanently on. The Armstrong case has reinforced the need for those precautions. “That resulted in three death threats, all made by individuals, I believe,” he explained. “Once again, the FBI is looking into it.”

Tygart said that public opinion in the US is divided, with some disliking him for his work and others recognising that he is simply doing the role he is supposed to do. “I have no other choice than follow the procedures, for Armstrong’s as with any other citizen,” he explained. “We either bury this case or we do our job. I love this job and I know why I do it. It’s therefore very clear.”

Tygart emphasised that he isn’t excited by ‘shattering dreams and legends,’ but that the mandate of USADA is unambiguous. “We are there to defend clean athletes and that’s what we do. If not, we would be in the wrong.”

As things stand Armstrong has been given a lifetime ban by USADA and also lost all of his results since August 1st 1998. That sanction arose when the Texan chose not to defend himself; he was made fully aware of the penalty he would face if he chose not to go to arbitration, but chose that course of action regardless.

The next stage is for USADA to pass its reasoned decision [case explanation and evidence – ed.] to the UCI and WADA. Both then will decide whether to accept to verdict or to appeal it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The UCI issued a statement exactly one month ago requesting that reasoned decision, and has been waiting since. Speaking at the world road race championships UCI president Pat McQuaid said that he had expected the file sooner but didn’t know the reason for the delay. VeloNation understands that one element is that additional evidence has been gathered in the meantime and has been added to the overall case file.

Tygart said that the UCI’s wait is now nearly over. “It’s imminent – at the end of the month,” he said, this suggesting that the file will be sent this week.

Once that’s done, the case moves closer to a final resolution. WADA has been supportive of USADA in the case and it would be a big surprise if it were to appeal. McQuaid has said that the UCI is unlikely to go to CAS, with this only set to happen if there were clear errors or discrepancies.

It means that it looks very likely that Armstrong will lose those results. Tygsart said that had he cooperated as other riders did, that he would have held onto his achievements.

“We talked on the phone twice. It was very formal. I offered him to find a solution. To cooperate,” he stated. “If he had accepted, he wouldn’t have lost all of his Tour de France titles because we would have taken his cooperation into account. But the next day he attacked us legally to contest the constitutionality of our investigation…”

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