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Tuesday 28, Oct 2014

  Armstrong Had Prior Authorization To Ride Fondo, Says Hincapie

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Armstrong Had Prior Authorization To Ride Fondo, Says Hincapie

George Hincapie, American retired road bicycle racer, has remarked that his former teammate Lance Armstrong had prior authorization from “the appropriate governing body” to ride in the Gran Fondo Hincapie in Greensville, South Carolina.

Lance Armstrong was to reunite with several former U.S. Postal Service teammates, including George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, and Kevin Livingston. He was also to reunite with other  active American professional riders including Tejay van Garderen, Brent Bookwalter, and Larry Warbasse (BMC Racing), Tom Danielson and Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp), and Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing).

The planned attendance of Armstrong drew the attention of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and USA Cycling because of his lifetime ban. In a statement, USA Cycling said that the banned cyclist is prohibited from participating from any event sanctioned by the national federation according to WADA Code. The Hincapie Fondo, as a non-competitive event, was in no way required to be sanctioned through USA Cycling.

USA Cycling’s director of communications, Bill Kellick, said no one here gave him a green light to participate and said we had no prior knowledge. The Hincapie Fondo is listed by USA Cycling as a “Fun Ride or Tour” and not a competitive event. USA Cycling director of communications Bill Kellick had remarked the event is a permitted, non-competitive ride with no officials, so there is no one there to stop Armstrong from participating but he added that if he does participate, it would be up to USADA to determine what, if any, penalties would be imposed beyond the lifetime ban and then it would be up to USA Cycling to impose those penalties.

In 2012, Hincapie testified against Lance Armstrong before USADA that he and Lance made use of banned performance enhancing drugs but mentioned in his sworn affidavit that he continues to hold Lance Armstrong in “high regard.” Hincapie had remarked he continues to regard Lance Armstrong as a great cyclist, and he continues to be proud to be his friend and to have raced with him for many years. The former cyclist had remarked he does not condemn Lance for making those choices, and he does not wish to be condemned for the choices he made.

On hearing this, George Hincapie remarked issued a statement and expressed his disappointment and said Lance Armstrong had been given “the green light” to participate after someone from the Hincapie Fondo had reached out to “the appropriate governing body.” However, Hincapie did not specify which “appropriate governing body” had been contacted. In the statement, George Hincapie said Lance will not be joining us at the Fondo this year and added that more than a month ago we conferred with what we thought was the appropriate governing body regarding his participation. Hincapie said at that time we were given the green light for him to ride and our intent was never to cause a stir, but we are disappointed to learn they’ve reversed course at the eleventh hour and added we will of course comply with the ruling, and look forward to a great event.

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Friday 23, Nov 2012

  Vande Velde Admits To Doping

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Vande Velde Admits To Doping

Cyclist Christian Vande Velde of Lemont, who was among the 11 former Lance Armstrong teammates who admitted to doping during testimony under oath in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation of Armstrong, has received a ban of six months from the agency.

In an affidavit, Velde said he had doped from 1999 through 2005 and made regular use of testosterone and the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO), both banned substances, and also received injections of human growth hormone (hGH), another banned substance, and of a banned corticosteroid.

The cyclist received a ban of six months, retroactive to September. His ban started from September 9 2012, and he has lost his results from June 4, 2004 through until April 30 2006. Meanwhile, Tom Danielson has been banned from September 1 2012, and loses his results from March 1 2005 until September 23, 2006 and David Zabriskie’s ban starts from September 1, 2012 and he loses all results from May 12, 2003, until July 31st 2006. The penalties on Velde also include an agreement not to accept a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.

The USADA provided details on how it reached at the conclusion that Lance Armstrong was the leader behind organized doping in the United States Postal team. Thereafter, the cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him for life from events governed by the World Anti-Doping Code.

Vande Velde said in a statement released by his current team, Slipstream Sports that he is deeply sorry for the decisions he made in the past. The 36-year-old cyclist rode with Armstrong’s U.S. Postal team during all of his first Tour victory in 1999 and started the 2001 Tour for the Postal team but withdrew after he crashed into a post during the seventh stage. Vande Velde said in the statement that he as a young pro rider competed drug free but made the wrong choice when he was presented with a choice that seemed like the only way to continue to follow his dream at the highest level of the sport and that is a decision that he deeply regrets.

USADA said in a statement that it takes tremendous courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully as it is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment.

After the 2003 season, Vande Velde left US Postal and went on to complete the Tour de France seven more times, taking fourth place in 2008 and eighth in 2009. The cyclist testified to first-hand knowledge of widespread doping by several USPS riders and Lance Armstrong, the seven-time winner of Tour de France, was one of them. Vande Velde never had a confirmed positive test like Armstrong and most of the others. Vande Velde, in his affidavit, said he first knowingly violated anti-doping rules by taking testosterone at the 1999 Tour de France and then started taking EPO (erythropoietin) at the end of 2000, under Italian doctor Michele Ferrari’s doping program.

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Thursday 22, Nov 2012

  USADA Bans Accepted By Danielson, Vande Velde, And Zabriski

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USADA Bans Accepted By Danielson, Vande Velde, And Zabriski

After making statements that they doped during their respective times as teammates of Lance Armstrong, Garmin-Sharp riders Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, and David Zabriskie have accepted their bans imposed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

While Vande Velde has been banned from September 9 2012, and lost his results from June 4, 2004 through until April 30 2006, the suspension of Zabriskie starts from September 1, 2012 and he loses all results from May 12, 2003, until July 31st 2006 and Danielson has been banned from September 1 2012, and loses his results from March 1 2005 until September 23, 2006. Each rider has received a ban of six months. The bans imposed by USADA on Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma Quick Step), Michael Barry (Team Sky), and George Hincapie (BMC), all former US Postal riders have also been accepted by the riders.

In a statement released by Garmin-Sharp, the team said Slipstream Sports was created for the formation of a team where cyclists could compete 100% clean and it is good to see the incredible strides cycling has taken to clean itself up. The statement further read that cycling has never been cleaner and Garmin-Sharp finds itself at a critical moment in cycling’s evolution: confronting its history.

Fourth in the team’s debut Tour de France in 2008, Vande Velde, turned professional with US Postal in 1998 and started the Tour the following year and rode until the end of the 2003 season for it. Velde said he used EPO during his stints at Liberty Seguros and at CSC under Bjarne Riio. The USADA report stated Vande Velde who was a somewhat reluctant doper who nonetheless worked with Dr. Michele Ferrari and submitted to his doping regimen of EPO for many seasons.

Vande Velde admits to his doping and made apologies for his past in a statement and said he loves cycling and he failed and succeeded in one of the most humbling sports in the world. He added that he competed drug free as a young pro rider, but decided to go for performance enhancing drugs when presented with a choice, a decision which he deeply regrets. Velde added that he won races before and after doping and selected the wrong path. He said actually he never won after doping and decided to come out clean and racing well before Slipstream and believed in the team because of its unbending mission of clean sport.

Zabriskie, who joined Garmin in 2008, at the same time as Vande Velde and Danielson rode with Lance Armstrong from 2001 to 2004 and said he was introduced to doping by Postal team boss Johan Bruyneel who is currently fighting USADA’s charges. Zabriskie said he accepts full responsibility of his decision to use performance enhancing drugs and was happy to come forward and tell USADA his side of whole story to help bring the issue to the fore and assure a safe, healthy, and clean future for cycling. According to USADA, Danielson was directed towards Johan Bruyneel by Dr Ferrari.

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Tuesday 06, Nov 2012

  Jonathan Vaughters Calls For UCI To Split

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Jonathan Vaughters Calls For UCI To Split

Former professional cyclist Jonathan Vaughters who admitted to doping in an affidavit to USADA recently said the UCI, governing body of cycling, needs to distance itself from anti-doping controls.

The International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) head Jonathan Vaughters said he would like an independent audit on all the presently running anti-doping efforts and this will be of great use of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

AIGCP said its management committee will make an announcement this week on which sports body would be nominating members and define the scope of the commission. UCI had not yet contacted his organization, WADA’s director general, David Howman, said in an interview.

AIGCP members voted for supporting a proposal for an independent review of the anti-doping program of cycling ahead of UCI’s announcement of its plans for a commission. Pressure is mounting on UCI after Lance Armstrong was stripped of all his titles and banned for life by USADA, a decision that was later ratified by the governing body of cycling. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found through testimony from 11 of his former teammates, including Vaughters, that the disgraced cyclist doped for much of his career.

It was alleged by former teammates of Armstrong, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton that UCI had a part in Armstrong’s doping legacy and the cyclist bragged that the UCI helped cover up an alleged positive doping control from the 2001 Tour de Suisse. The allegation was however denied by UCI president Pat McQuaid but the management committee provided the green signal to a commission for examining it. The UCI stated, in a press release, that the scope of the commission will be to look into the different allegations made about the cycling’s governing body related to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and to identify ways for ensuring that sportsmen caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage.

The UCI has yet to respond to the proposal of the AIGCP, Vaughters said and added that he hopes the commission will examine the present anti-doping structure and explained that ideally the commission should make a recommendation to separate UCI from anti-doping operations as this will reduce the  chances of cover-up and bribery claims. He added that the anti-doping group should move to a different office and must be funded by teams and race organizers directly and WADA should have the ultimate authority and auditory power.

Vaughters of Garmin-Sharp has hired a number of ex-dopers and recently said Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, and David Zabriskie had doped in the past and he treats dopers and clean cyclists the same but with a condition that they will ride clean on his team and said he did not sign Jörg Jaksche not because he was a doper but because he loves to gossip and calling anyone and everyone a doper. Vaughters added that Jorge wants to be a leader but he believes that Jorge doesn’t have the physiological or social qualities to be a leader.

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Thursday 01, Nov 2012

  Anti-Doping Law Flouted By Ban On Armstrong

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Anti-Doping Law Flouted By Ban On Armstrong

According to experts, the decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to ban @Lance Armstrong and stripping him of his seven Tour de France wins rides roughshod over established anti-doping rules.

Many sport law specialists have remarked that the anti-doping agency report that triggered the downfall of the disgraced cyclist and the endorsement of the same by the governing body of cycling, UCI, ignored the statute of limitations that ordinarily applies in such cases.

Lance Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of all his titles. His results after August 1998 were annulled and all his sponsors, including Nike, left him. This was after former teammates of the cyclist (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie) condemned him with sworn eyewitness testimonies saying that Armstrong used and even encouraged the use of performance enhancing drugs and even threatened those who refused to take drugs by telling them their place in the team will be given to someone else.

Now the specialists suggest that Armstrong may even have grounds for making an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the decision.

Antonio Rigozzi, a doping law professor at the university of Neuchatel in Switzerland, said the case is certainly unique in its scale but it is not a reason not to apply or even ignore the (anti-doping) rules, as we have seen.

According to anti-doping rules, there is a limit of eight years to bring alleged violation cases but eyebrows were raised in legal circles about the agreements made with the former teammates of the cyclist to testify against him.

Alexis Schoeb, a Swiss lawyer specializing in sport, remarked that the fact that former cyclists who are currently owning up the use of drugs are treated in another way and the eight-year limitation has been respected while there is no such rule in the case of Lance Armstrong and this surely suggests that there is a touch of double standards.

USADA pulled off a political coup by allowing access to the public on its website to a very detailed report that practically made any appeal doomed to failure, French lawyer Jean-Jacques Bertrand said and added that dispassionate judges who apply the law as it stands are required for handling this case.

Meanwhile, more humiliation is on the way for Armstrong as his effigy will be burned at a Kent town’s annual bonfire celebration to mark a failed 1605 plot to blow up parliament and kill King James I. A 30ft (9m) model of the Texan rider will go up in flames in Edenbridge. With this, the cyclist joins the list of Cherie Blair, Katie Price, Gordon Brown, Mario Balotelli, Wayne Rooney, former French president Jacques Chirac, ex-British prime minister Tony Blair, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and Russell Brand; effigies of all of them were burned in the past. Armstrong’s effigy holds a sign reading: “For Sale — Racing Bike. No longer required.” The effigy of Lance Armstrong also sports a badge around its neck that says “Jim Fixed It For Me”, a reference to the late British television presenter Jimmy Savile who was accused of widespread child sex abuse.

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Friday 12, Oct 2012

  USADA to Detail Doping Case Against Armstrong

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USADA to Detail Doping Case Against Armstrong

The United States Anti-Doping Agency is expected to release extensive details of its doping case against seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong who was stripped of all his titles, and banned for life. The doping case is expected to include witness testimony from some of the former close friends and teammates of the cyclist.

USADA ordered the results from 14 years of the cyclist’s career to be erased, including his seven Tour de France titles. The agency is planning within a few days to send a detailed report about its reasoned decision” to the governing body of cycling, the International Cycling Union (UCI).

The anti-doping agency claims that it had ten former teammates of Lance Armstrong to testify against him before Armstrong chose not to take his case to an arbitration hearing and the list is expected to include Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton and even witness testimony from George Hincapie who was the only rider to be at the side of Armstrong for each of his Tour France victories. Considered one of the most respected American cyclists in recent history, Hincapie, has not tested positive for doping and has never said he has doped but he recently broke his silence and admitted he cheated.

Under the World Anti-Doping Code, the USADA is required to send its evidence against Armstrong to International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency and these agencies have the right to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The UCI has 21 days to appeal once it receives the file and WADA has 21 days to appeal once the cycling union announces its intentions. WADA general director David Howman said that the agency has got no problem with the process they have followed and there is a need to follow patience and be quiet until the decision comes to hand.

Timothy J. Herman, one of Armstrong’s lawyers, termed the case against his client a farce and said the anti-doping agency now pretends to issue its own ‘reasoned decision,’ even though there was no judge, no jury, and no hearing. Herman accused the agency of “still trying to create evidence and put it in the file now,” long after it supposedly had an airtight case. Lawyers of the cyclist said USADA should send UCI its entire case file, not just a streamlined report packaged to support its decision.

Armstrong has continued to compete in triathlons that are not sanctioned by USA Triathlon, the sport’s governing body, which follows the WADA code and won the SuperFrog Triathlon in California last month and competed in the Revolution3 Half-Full Triathlon in Maryland, racing with a group of about 50 fellow cancer survivors.

It is believed that the riders who provided testimony include several top American cyclists of the generation of Armstrong like Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde, and Dave Zabriskie. One of Armstrong’s former lieutenants on the United States Postal Service team, Tyler Hamilton, has revealed some particulars about Armstrong and doping in his book, “The Secret Race,” which was published last month in which he accused Armstrong, team management and team staff of encouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs.

USADA to Detail Doping Case Against Armstrong

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