Armstrong case: USADA confirms reasoned decision sent to UCI and WADA, over 1000 pages of evidence
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Armstrong case: USADA confirms reasoned decision sent to UCI and WADA, over 1000 pages of evidence

by Shane Stokes at 11:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Data gathered includes 26 witnesses, including Hincapie, Leipheimer, Danielson and Vande Velde

Lance ArmstrongCiting ‘overwhelming evidence’ which amounts to over 1000 pages in length, the US Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed that it is today sending its reasoned decision to the UCI and to WADA in relation to the sanctions against Lance Armstrong.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart will later today release a large amount of that evidence, but has given an overview of what those sporting bodies plus the general public can expect. He states that evidence includes sworn testimony from 26 people, of which 15 are riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants’ doping activities.

Eleven of Armstrong’s former team-mates have been named today, with Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leiphimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie all confirmed as having cooperated.

In addition to that, Tygart states that the evidence ‘also 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.’

He commends those eleven riders for speaking honestly, saying that they have been courageous in admitting the truth and have suffered greatly as a result. He said that the active competitors have all been ‘suspended and disqualified appropriately’ in line with the rules, meaning that Omega Pharma Quick Step rider Levi Leipheimer plus Garmin-Sharp’s Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie are all sidelined. It is not yet known how long their suspensions will last.

As for the others on the list, Micheal Barry and George Hincapie both retired in recent weeks, while Frankie Andreu, Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, Stephen Swart and Jonathan Vaughters hung up their wheels much earlier.

Tygart thanks them for their assistance, saying that they spoke out despite the personal cost. “In some part, it would have been easier for them if it all would just go away; however, they love the sport, and they want to help young athletes have hope that they are not put in the position they were -- to face the reality that in order to climb to the heights of their sport they had to sink to the depths of dangerous cheating,” he said.

“I have personally talked with and heard these athletes’ stories and firmly believe that, collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they ever did on a bike.”

However despite the compelling evidence against him, he said that Armstrong rejected any invitations to ‘be part of the solution’ and to speak about the past.

“ He rejected it. Instead he exercised his legal right not to contest the evidence and knowingly accepted the imposition of a ban from recognized competition for life and disqualification of his competitive results from 1998 forward.”

Tygart previously said that if Armstrong had confessed, that he would not have lost all seven Tours de France. However because he decided not to fight his case, he was stripped of all results since August 1998, including those seven Tours, and also faces a life ban from competition.

Former team doctors Michele Ferrari and Garcia del Moral have also been given lifetime bans, while past team director Johan Bruyneel, former team doctor Pedro Celaya plus the coach Jose “Pepe” Marti all face arbitration hearings.

Tygart states that the evidence amassed shows that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ‘ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.’

“The USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices. A program organized by individuals who thought they were above the rules and who still play a major and active role in sport today.”

He called on the UCI to implement a Truth and Reconciliation programme in order to enable the sport to deal with its past and then to move on.


Come back later for comprehensive details of the evidence gathered.



The full statement from Tygart is as follows:




STATEMENT FROM USADA CEO TRAVIS T. TYGART REGARDING THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE PRO CYCLING TEAM DOPING CONSPIRACY


Colorado Springs, Colo. (October 10, 2012) - “Today, we are sending the ‘Reasoned Decision’ in the Lance Armstrong case and supporting information to the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). 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.

The evidence of the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team-run scheme is overwhelming and is in excess of 1000 pages, and includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants’ doping activities. The evidence also 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.

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. All of the material will be made available later this afternoon on the USADA website at www.usada.org.

The USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices. A program organized by individuals who thought they were above the rules and who still play a major and active role in sport today.

The evidence demonstrates that the ‘Code of Silence’ of performance enhancing drug use in the sport of cycling has been shattered, but there is more to do. From day one, we always hoped this investigation would bring to a close this troubling chapter in cycling’s history and we hope the sport will use this tragedy to prevent it from ever happening again.

Of course, no one wants to be chained to the past forever, and I would call on the UCI to act on its own recent suggestion for a meaningful Truth and Reconciliation program. While we appreciate the arguments that weigh in favor of and against such a program, we believe that allowing individuals like the riders mentioned today to come forward and acknowledge the truth about their past doping may be the only way to truly dismantle the remaining system that allowed this “EPO and Blood Doping Era” to flourish. Hopefully, the sport can unshackle itself from the past, and once and for all continue to move forward to a better future.

Our mission is to protect clean athletes by preserving the integrity of competition not only for today’s athletes but also the athletes of tomorrow. We have heard from many athletes who have faced an unfair dilemma — dope, or don’t compete at the highest levels of the sport. Many of them abandoned their dreams and left sport because they refused to endanger their health and participate in doping. That is a tragic choice no athlete should have to make.

It took tremendous courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully. It is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment. But that is what these riders have done for the good of the sport, and for the young riders who hope to one day reach their dreams without using dangerous drugs or methods.

These eleven (11) teammates of Lance Armstrong, in alphabetical order, are Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leiphimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

The riders who participated in the USPS Team doping conspiracy and truthfully assisted have been courageous in making the choice to stop perpetuating the sporting fraud, and they have suffered greatly. In addition to the public revelations, the active riders have been suspended and disqualified appropriately in line with the rules. In some part, it would have been easier for them if it all would just go away; however, they love the sport, and they want to help young athletes have hope that they are not put in the position they were -- to face the reality that in order to climb to the heights of their sport they had to sink to the depths of dangerous cheating.

I have personally talked with and heard these athletes’ stories and firmly believe that, collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they ever did on a bike.

Lance Armstrong was given the same opportunity to come forward and be part of the solution. He rejected it.
Instead he exercised his legal right not to contest the evidence and knowingly accepted the imposition of a ban from recognized competition for life and disqualification of his competitive results from 1998 forward. The entire factual and legal basis on the outcome in his case and the other six active riders’ cases will be provided in the materials made available online later today. Two other members of the USPS Team, Dr. Michele Ferrari and Dr. Garcia del Moral, also received lifetime bans for perpetrating this doping conspiracy.

Three other members of the USPS Team have chosen to contest the charges and take their cases to arbitration: Johan Bruyneel, the team director; Dr. Pedro Celaya, a team doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti, the team trainer. These three individuals will receive a full hearing before independent judges, where they will have the opportunity to present and confront the evidence, cross-examine witnesses and testify under oath in a public proceeding.

From day one in this case, as in every potential case, the USADA Board of Directors and professional staff did the job we are mandated to do for clean athletes and the integrity of sport. We focused solely on finding the truth without being influenced by celebrity or non-celebrity, threats, personal attacks or political pressure because that is what clean athletes deserve and demand.”


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