Omega Pharma-Quick Step terminates Levi Leipheimer’s contract after USADA revelations
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Omega Pharma-Quick Step terminates Levi Leipheimer’s contract after USADA revelations

by Ben Atkins at 1:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
American’s public statement cited as reason by Belgian team

levi leipheimerOmega Pharma-Quick Step has terminated its contract with Levi Leipheimer, less than one year into the two-year deal. The almost 39-year-old American was one of eleven former teammates of Lance Armstrong that gave evidence against the disgraced former seven-time Tour de France winner, while simultaneously confessing to his own doping over several years.

Despite claiming to have been racing clean for the last five years, Leipheimer - along with the other active riders that also confessed as part of their own testimony - has received a six-month suspension from USADA, as well as being stripped of all results between June 1st 1999 and July 30th 2006, and between July 7th and 29th 2007.

With his suspension starting on September 1st, the American will be eligible to race again on March 1st next year, providing the length of his sentence is not appealed by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

While praising Leipheimer’s honesty in owning up to years of illegal doping, the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team is not willing to wait until his suspension ends and has fired him with immediate effect.

“We commend the rider for his open co-operation with USADA and contribution to cleaning up the sport of cycling,” reads a statement from the Belgian team. “However, in the light of the disclosures made by Mr Leipheimer in his public statement on 10th of October the team has decided to terminate the contract.

“This decision has the full support of the team owner, the board represented by Mr Bessel Kok and team manager Mr Patrick Lefevere.”

Leipheimer signed with Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the end of last year, having spent the previous two years with RadioShack; of which Armstrong was an active rider until last February. Despite beginning the year with overall victory in the Tour de San Luis, in Argentina, Leipheimer’s season has been hit with injury, including a fractured fibula sustained when he was hit by a car in training.

With the departure of Leipheimer, Omega Pharma-Quick Step will have both a vacancy in the team roster, as well as some available budget that would have been spent on the American’s salary. This will increase speculation that the team is poised to sign 2011 World champion Mark Cavendish, who’s Sky team has confirmed it is willing to release him.

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