UPDATED, SEE BELOW
If Lance Armstrong thought avoiding arbitration with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency would keep its case against him private, he was wrong: The USADA released a 202-page document outlining Armstrong’s alleged cheating, doping, and conspiring, all in order to win the Tour de France. It placed him very much in the center of “a massive team doping scheme, more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history,” making it clear that Armstrong was a driving force behind a systemic effort to win at nearly all costs.
Armstrong had no direct comment, but he tweeted a link to a video of Elliot Smith’s “Coming Up Roses.”
Although in the past Armstrong has attacked the USADA case as relying on hearsay and testimony by sources he said were untrustworthy, USADA’s evidence includes financial statements, emails, and test results, along with testimony by 26 individuals, including 15 who were connected to the U.S. Postal Service team and six who raced with Armstrong.
“The U.S.P.S. 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,” said USADA. “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 fallout wasn’t just limited to Armstrong, though. Here are some of the day’s events or new information:
- George Hincapie, former Armstrong teammate, once one of Armstrong’s best friends, and one of the most respected racers in cycling, confessed to doping.
- Levi Leipheimer confessed to doping and was suspended by his team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
- Christian Vande Velde confessed to doping.
- Dave Zabriskie confessed to doping.
- Jonathan Vaughters confessed to doping.
- Tom Danielson confessed to doping
- Michael Barry confessed to doping.
- Retroactive testing found EPO in six of Armstrong’s urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France.
- Armstrong paid more than $1 million to Dr. Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor who has been implicated in doping, over a period of 10 years, including prior to his cancer diagnosis, according to the USADA, which traced the financial transactions. Tyler Hamilton testified that he saw Ferrari inject Armstrong with EPO.
What’s next in the saga? Cycling’s international governing body, UCI, has 21 days to review USADA’s case and file an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Once it makes its decision, the World Anti-Doping Agency has 21 days to appeal.
USADA Supporting Materials (rider affidavits, etc.)
Armstrong Was Central Figure in Doping Ring, Officials Say
New York Times
“Drug use was casual among the top riders, and some shared EPO — the banned blood booster erythropoietin — as if borrowing cups of sugar from a neighbor. In 2005, Hincapie on two occasions asked Armstrong, “Any EPO I could borrow?” and Armstrong obliged without question.”
Drug Case Against Armstrong Detailed
Wall Street Journal
“The evidence is also clear that Mr. Armstrong had ultimate control over not only his own personal drug use, which was extensive, but also over the doping culture of his team.”
“It was not enough that his teammates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping program outlined for them or be replaced,” the report said.
Case Closed: Armstrong Doped
“You can choose not to believe any or all of the witnesses. You can choose to disregard the flashing neon arrows among the test results. You can somehow construe the $1 million in payments Armstrong made to the Swiss-based company of discredited trainer Michele Ferrari as legitimate medical expenses, or remarkably generous gifts. To discount all three elements of USADA’s case, and the way they overlap and intersect, is nothing less than being willfully blind.”
USADA Report Details Doping Evidence in Armstrong Case as Ex Teammates Come Forth
“It is impossible to give the report even a glancing read and come away with any conclusion other than that Armstrong systematically doped for a great portion of his extraordinary career, that he enlisted teammates and staff in the effort, and that he aggressively went to great lengths to conceal it…All the more impressive is that USADA gathered all the evidence on its own, and quickly. USADA says that none of the evidence in its files came from the now-closed federal criminal investigation. Despite several requests, the Department of Justice has not provided a single piece of evidence.”
Statement from George Hincapie
“Because of my love for the sport, the contributions I feel I have made to it, and the amount the sport of cycling has given to me over the years, it is extremely difficult today to acknowledge that during a part of my career I used banned substances. Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them. I deeply regret that choice and sincerely apologize to my family, teammates and fans.”
Leipheimer: Why I Doped
Wall Street Journal
“Until recently—or maybe even until today—when people thought about doping, they thought about a guy, by himself, using banned substances to get ahead. What people didn’t realize—what I didn’t realize until after I was already committed to this career—was that doping was organized and everywhere in the peloton. Doping wasn’t the exception, it was the norm…I came to see cycling for what it was: a sport where some team managers and doctors coordinated and facilitated the use of banned substances and methods by their riders. A sport where the athletes at the highest level—perhaps without exception—used banned substances.”
Armstrong’s blood showed clear signs of manipulation in 2009
“Either Lance Armstrong’s blood is one-in-a-million or the former world champion cheated, according to new analysis of the Texan’s blood profiles.”
From Former Teammates, Words Tinged With Regret
New York Times
Dave Zabriskie: “Seeing what happened to my father from his substance abuse, I vowed never to take drugs. I viewed cycling as a healthy and wholesome outlet that would keep me far away from a world I abhorred…Ironically, the sport I had turned to for escaping drugs turned out to be rampant with doping…I questioned, I resisted, but in the end, I felt cornered and succumbed to the pressure.”
This Is What Honesty Looks Like
Wall Street Journal
“What these riders are truly agitated about in their confessions are not the syringes and substances, or even Armstrong, but an environment in which doping felt compulsory to survive, and silence is expected. That is how a sport develops and perpetuates a drug problem, and testing is clearly not the answer, even now. An entire culture must be broken. This report is the biggest step in the history of cycling.”
Return to Sender: Lance Armstrong and USPS Pro Cycling Team’s EPIC FAIL
“The true victim is not Armstrong, not the U.S. Government, not jilted competitors, or even disappointed fans. It is instead the sport of cycling, even Sport itself, and what that means for future athletes.”
Armstrong Foundation Still Thriving
“Lance Armstrong’s credibility has been attacked once again, with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency revealing its evidence against the cyclist Wednesday. But the foundation that bears his name is still pulling in significant dollars. Year-to-date revenues for the foundation, the largest athlete-named charity in the world, are up 2.1 percent to $33.8 million through Sept. 30…The number of donations is up by 5.4 percent versus 2011 and the average dollar amount of those donations is up 5.7 percent.”
UPDATED OCTOBER 11 12:00 PST
How Armstrong Beat Cycling’s Drug Tests
New York Times
“As part of its investigation, Usada said that it recently obtained additional data from French officials who had retested Armstrong’s samples from the 1999 Tour de France. For procedural reasons, those samples cannot be used to sanction Armstrong. But the Usada report indicated that advances in EPO testing since then conclusively show that he used the hormone. The report said the retesting produced “resoundingly positive values” from six samples.”
IOC looks into revoking Armstrong’s Olympic medal
Los Angeles Times
“The International Olympic Committee announced on Thursday that it is looking into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s case against Lance Armstrong to see if it should strip Armstrong of his Olympic medal. Armstrong won the bronze medal in the time trial at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.”
Bradley Wiggins ‘Shocked’ By Evidence
“Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins has told Sky News, ‘It’s pretty damning stuff. It is pretty jaw-dropping the amount of people who have testified against him. It is certainly not a one-sided hatchet job, it is pretty damning. I am shocked at the scale of the evidence.’”
Michele Ferrari could face charges
“The doctor who is a central figure in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal also is the target of an Italian criminal investigation that is nearing completion. ‘It’s not finished yet, but it’s coming to a close,’ Padua prosecutor Benedetto Roberti told The Associated Press on Thursday. Roberti has been leading a sweeping investigation of Dr. Michele Ferrari for several years…Doping is a crime in Italy, and Ferrari was already cleared on appeal in 2006 following an earlier conviction on criminal charges of distributing banned products to athletes. He remains barred for life by the Italian Cycling Federation under a 2002 ruling.”