Indurain says he still believes Armstrong is innocent
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Indurain says he still believes Armstrong is innocent

by VeloNation Press at 8:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Spaniard refuses to accept evidence, says no tests were failed

mIguel IndurainDespite USADA’s findings, despite the 1000 pages of evidence, despite the sworn testimony of 26 people, and amongst them eleven of his Lance Armstrong’s former team-mates, Miguel Indurain has said that he doesn’t consider the Texan to be guilty of the charges made against him.

“So far I believe in his innocence, he has always complied with all the rules,” he told Marca, saying that he couldn’t understand how Armstrong was sanctioned without a positive test. “I'm a little surprised. It is a bit odd that it was done only with testimonies. The standards were one way and now it seems that they have changed.”

Armstrong’s former team-mates explained in their testimonies how the US Postal Service team avoided testing positive. The accounts include statements saying that general manager Johan Bruyneel appeared to be tipped off in advance of surprise controls, as well as testimony about how riders would avoid EPO positives by microdosing, hiding from testers if necessary and also traveling to remote locations where they were less likely to be checked.

Those sworn statements also included details of undetectable blood transfusions which were used by the team’s top riders; a decade later, there is still no working test to detect when riders have injected their own blood.

However Indurain still doesn’t appear to register why a lack of positives aren’t proof that Armstrong was clean. “He followed all the rules there were at the time and had no problem. Every [legal] case he took, he won them. In sports they have seized upon the testimony of fellow riders to take away the Tours.”

The Spaniard does admit that he’s surprised at one aspect, though: Armstrong’s decision not to contest USADA’s charges, and to instead walk away despite knowing that he would lose his Tour titles and face a lifetime ban.

“He has always been a fighter. What surprises me is he doesn’t fight any more, even when the regulations are not followed. There is a regulation that says you can only appeal within eight years [the statute of limitations].”

He concluded by saying that he thinks Armstrong will appeal, although that avenue appears to be closed to him as he elected not to follow the standard process for fighting anti-doping cases.

The usual arbitration process was deemed to be binding by Texas federal judge Sam Sparks on August 20th, thus giving Armstrong one clear path of defence. He elected not to follow that path, and now appears to have exhausted all options.


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