Lance Armstrong has been banned from competing in triathlons as part of a new doping charge levelled against the seven-times Tour de France winner by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

According to a report in the Washington Post on Wednesday, USADA sent a 15-page charging letter to Armstrong alleging that blood samples collected from the Texan during 2009 and 2010 were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions”.

The charges are the result of an investigation carried out by USADA and based on witness statements from former team-mates and associates of Armstrong. If the charges stick, Armstrong could face a suspension from any competition and have some of his results anulled.

Former US Postal/Discovery Channel/Astana/Discovery Channel team manager Johan Bruyneel and Italian docter Michele Ferrari are among those named in association with alleged organised doping practices over the period 1998 to 2011 – the year Armstrong retired from professional cycling and took up competing in triathlons.

Armstrong quickly published a statement on his website refuting the allegations, calling the action a waste of taxpayers’ money and branding it a vendetta against him. He once again underlined that he has never failed a dope test.

“I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned,” wrote Armstrong.

“These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge.

“USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.

“I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence.”

In February, a federal investigation into Armstrong’s alleged fraud, that was supposed to have paid for the doping practices, was closed without charge. When it was, USADA asked for the evidence to handed over. Several of Armstrong’s former team-mates, including Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, publically admitted to doping during their professional careers.

Related links

February 4 2012: Armstrong holds off the law

Armstrong case dropped by US investigators

Armstrong investigation arrives in Europe

Armstrong’s team mate Popovych testifies he did not witness doping

Armstrong’s team-mate Popovych summonsed in doping investigation

Landis admits he doped and implicates others

  • Simon Richardson

    Thanks for all the comments. A few points worth noting:

    This isn’t new evidence as such, it’s evidence from the federal investigation that was looking in to financial fraud on Armstrong’s previous teams, not doping. No one knows why that case was closed, but if it was lack of evidence, it was lack of evidence of fraud, not lack of evidence of doping.

    When that case was closed USADA asked for the evidence (of doping) to be handed over so they could act on it if they thought it was strong enough.

    The reason they have to do this is because Armstrong is still competing in a sport (triathlon) that has signed up to the WADA code. The are duty bound to investigate.

    Armstrong cannot be compared with the likes of Coppi or Anquetil as racing in those days was governed by completely different rules – especially where doping is concerned.

    Simon Richardson
    CW Dep ed

  • yenrod

    I could put something up that wouldnt be printed so i reckon you get my gist !

  • TG

    GO LANCE GO!!! and don’t come back!!!!

  • cristi_schleck

    :( Stupid USADA !!!

  • adam

    As Colnago Dave says, strip him and award them to whom? However, whilst LA hs retired and that era will always cause a raised eye brow, some of the Dr’s and Directors are still in the sport and still guiding competing athletes. They need chasing and removing from cycling, if they are guilty.
    Likewise, imagine the triathlon world now… if (IF) Armstrong was/is guilty, surely they too have a right to not have to compete against him…?

  • Spokes of North Devon

    For goodness sake leave him alone.
    This isn’t new evidence and has been thrown out by the courts in the past.
    If it was good evidence it would have been brought out then.
    i have total respect for this man for his achievements on and off the bike in the past and present.

  • John

    Looking at the facts, Lance has never been found guilty of doping in over 500 tests ranging from hair, blood and urine. He is still performing to an elite level at 40 years of age and while no longer a professional cyclist is still being tested now during his triathlons and guess what, still clean!

    The UCI have stated this is not their doing and have no interest in this recent case. Add to this that the US federal government investigated Lance for 2 years without any justification to either continue and charge. That have shown the in past should they have the evidence to charge, strip titles and sentence to jail aka Marion Jones they will do this.

    On the face of it there is no new evidence so why the USADA believe they have a better chance is baffling.

    Time to move on and thank the man for attracting sponsorship to US and global cycling.

    Still a legend and always will be.

  • phil j

    All of the greats including Eddy M have doped, but its funny how some more than others are criticised for it. namely Pantani who eventually couldnt take the pressure was especially marked out, although never tested positive in his racing career.
    Similar thing with Gary Glitter and Michael Jackson. The latters music still mplayed and adored by his many fans as he settled out of court for child abuse, whilst the former,s music is never played or admitted to being liked by anyone. Hypocritical arnt we all?

  • Steve

    I always wanted to believe in Lance but I just can’t anymore. Too much smoke…. Also, I watched him race up Alpe D’huez(was it?) against Pantani on you tube from a few years back. Sorry, but I don’t believe what I see. The sad thing is that nothing he says can dispel the evidence. The sooner he is consigned to history the better. Move on, it’s a new era. go Wiggo!

  • BG

    No smoke without fire & couldn’t agree more about Contador. It’s a disgrace that he is allowed to return in August after a 6 month ban.
    The UCI have made a mockery of the sport & certainly have no gonads!
    Minimum ban should be at least 5 years.

  • Ken Evans

    “If the charges stick….”
    “…..passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one….”

    Blah, blah, blah.
    We have all heard the allegations,
    but is there enough hard PROOF,
    to gain a conviction ???

    In an era where many riders he beat have later been found guilty of doping,
    Armstrong’s performances were so exceptional it is difficult to believe that he didn’t dope too.

    Even if his results are erased, will the replacement riders be any cleaner ?
    How many credible champions are there ??

    The image of professional cycling is already very dirty,
    will the UCI finally introduce measures to prevent doping,
    or will results of races continue to be changed years afterwards,
    making the sport look ridiculous.

    Will any prize money be returned as well ?
    Will beaten riders be financially compensated for sponsorship money they didn’t get ?

    How clean will the Olympics be ?
    Surely blood tests are better than urine tests, and more difficult to mask ?

  • milton

    I am in complete accord with colnago Dave . I am sick and tired of the whole sorry saga time to move on I think . but somehow I do not think these clowns will let it drop , but i suppose it gives the parasites something to do

  • Howard

    Lance Armstrong has never failed a dope test. The charges are based on the supposed revelations by convicted dopers who have failed tests. Basicly the politics of envy, we could not beat him fair and square, we could not beat him by cheating so let’s try and beat him by lying! My belief is that he is as clean as a whistle and a superbly courageous athlete and individual. Leave him alone.

  • Fabien Beardsly

    Difference between Coppi / Anquetil and Armstrong is that amphetamines were not illegal in racing (at least for most of Jacques’ career) while doping of all sorts was definitely a no-no while LA was pedalling.

    I’d quite like to see a line drawn under the whole Armstrong story – as I understand it the DoJ seemed to drop the case more due to a lack of funds from Government cuts rather than lack of evidence. Final investigation and whatever the result should help resolve the whole shebang.

  • martin smith

    YYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

    get in there

    you can run Lance but you can’t hide

  • ye

    Lance Armstrong – who’s he ?

  • The Bolton Bullet

    Nail him, Tygart .Interesting links to a certain beef eating Spaniard too… a trainer of his who also worked for The Dark One is one of those named. Life ban for Albuterol Clemtador in the not too distant future perchance… IF the UCI have the gonads of course!

  • Colnago dave

    Message to USADA, leave it alone as I am fed up with the Armstrong affair. What are you going to do if you find him guilty- strip him of his titles and award them to whom as his runners up have mostly been linked or found guilty of doping.
    I like many others have accepted that there is no smoke without fire but I no longer see the relevance of this case. It is well documented the extent of doping in the peleton during this period, but hopefully we are now in a new era where clean atheletes prevail and those stupid enough to try to cheat are soon caught..

    By their own admission the likes of Coppi and Anquetil used amphetamines during their carreers but I do not see any moves to strip them of their titles.

    Please note I do not condone doping but want to move on in a sport I have loved for 55 years.