USADA Letter Details Doping Charges Against Lance Armstrong

The Washington Post reported today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will pursue doping sanctions against Lance Armstrong for violations allegedly committed during his cycling career. Not to be outdone, The Wall Street Journal has published the letter from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency sent to Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and the other individuals named in the case to notify them of the charges against them. You can download the pdf from the Wall Street Journal site.

The document claims that the USADA has eyewitness accounts of doping practices at the U.S. Postal Service team and its successor teams. It names Johan Bruyneel, Luis del Moral, and Michele Ferrari as involved in administering EPO and other substances to the riders on the team. The violations allegedly span the period from 1996 to 2010 and if the anti-doping agency wins its case, Armstrong could receive a lifetime ban and lose all seven of his Tour de France titles.

According to the document, the charges span the years from 1996-2010 and the USADA claims to have evidence from ten riders to support their case against Lance Armstrong. According to the letter, Armstrong refused requests from the anti-doping agency to answer any questions. "Every other United States rider contacted by USADA regarding doping in cycling agreed to meet with USADA," claims the document. It lists EPO, testosterone, cortisone, HGH, blood doping, and plasma transfusions as the prohibited substances and practices involved in the case. My favorite part? The use of Edgar Allen Poe as a nickname for EPO.

Armstrong is the only rider named in the case, which also names Bruyneel, a team trainer and team doctors such as Del Moral and Ferrari. The document says that case is being brought as a single action and calls the doping practices at U.S. Postal and its successor teams "a conspiracy," and it argues the individuals involved "conspired to conceal their actions."

Though some of the violations occurred outside of the eight-year statute of limitations, the USADA document asserts that the evidence from outside of the eight-year period may be used to establish a pattern of doping violations. Also, results from outside the statute of limitations can be stripped in cases of "fraudulent concealment" or "false statements." If USADA proves its case, Armstrong could lose all of his Tour titles, not simply the results from the past eight years, and the USADA may pursue a lifetime ban.

In the short run, this case rules out any further triathlon racing from Lance Armstrong. That is the immediate consequence. The UCI may also choose to act against Johan Bruyneel, who was also served with this letter. Bruyneel could be provisionally suspended from team management until the case is resolved. Longer term, well, we potentially face a lengthy anti-doping case against Armstrong and the others named in the case. Quoth the raven, Nevermore!

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