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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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Wednesday 17, Oct 2012

  Lance Armstrong’s Cat-And-Mouse Game

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Lance Armstrong’s Cat-And-Mouse Game

Disgraced seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong recently said he wanted to see the names of all his accusers. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) soon obliged him by giving him 26 names, including that of 11 former teammates. The agency even provided him with evidence of 200 pages filled with vivid details, from hotel rooms transformed into makeshift blood transfusion centers to the ex-wife of the cyclist rolling pills of cortisone into foil and handing them out to all the cyclists.

The agency remarked that Lance Armstrong’s desire to win at all costs was what made him go dependent on first EPO and then blood transfusions and other performance enhancing drugs like growth hormone and testosterone. He tried the biggest tricks in the game to run the most sophisticated doping program in cycling and had the habit of running from places whenever and wherever anti-doping team came to test him. From 1999-2004, Armstrong won the Tour as leader of the U.S. Postal Service team and again in 2005 with the Discovery Channel as the primary sponsor.

USADA accused Armstrong of depending on performance enhancing drugs to fuel his victories and more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his teammates. Among the 11 former teammates who testified against Armstrong are Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, and George Hincapie. The USADA report said Hincapie alerted Armstrong when he found drug testers at the hotel in 2000 after which Armstrong dropped out of the race to avoid being tested. The USADA also interviewed Toronto cyclist Michael Barry, Frankie Andreu, Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie besides Andreu’s wife, Betsy, who was one of Armstrong’s most consistent and unapologetic critics.

The report went to the governing body of cycling, UCI, and it also went to the World Anti-Doping Agency that also has the right to appeal but so far has supported the position of the USADA in the case against Lance Armstrong.

Recently, Canadian cyclist Michael Barry released a statement in which he admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs after feeling pressure to perform from the United States Postal Service Cycling Team.

Armstrong insisted that he never cheated though he find it easy not to fight the USADA charges than to save his reputation and integrity by contesting the charges levied against him. His attorney, Tim Herman, called the report a one-sided hatchet job — a taxpayer funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories. Herman, in a letter sent to USADA attorneys, said dismissed any evidence provided by Landis and Hamilton and said the riders were “serial perjurers and have told diametrically contradictory stories under oath.

USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart said the cyclist was given the chance to take his case to arbitration and declined and rather decided to accept the sanctions in August. Once he decided not to contest the charges, the anti-doping agency stripped him of all his titles and banned him for life and now Armstrong’s bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics is also in the danger of getting lost. However, the International Olympic Committee will wait for cycling’s governing body to act on the doping case before it thinks about taking away his Olympic bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Lance Armstrong’s Cat-And-Mouse Game