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Monday 26, Nov 2012

  Ban On Armstrong Just The Start, Says USADA

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Ban On Armstrong Just The Start, Says USADA

A full and independent investigation into doping in cycling has been called by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

The anti-doping agency banned the 41-year-old Texan rider for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles after saying it had exposed him as a drug cheat welcomed ratification of its sanctions against the cyclist and USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in a statement that the UCI made the right decision in the Lance Armstrong case.

Tygart said USADA is glad that the governing body of cycling finally reversed course in this case and has made the credible decision available to it despite its prior opposition to USADA’s investigation into doping on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team and within the sport. He added that imposing a life ban on the cyclist was not the end of the problem because the investigation of USADA showed that doping was rife in professional cycling.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Armstrong for life and stripped of seven Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005 for doping. USADA labelled Armstrong a “serial” cheat and that he had led the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen. After this, the International Cycling Union (UCI) accepted the USADA findings into systematic doping.

In the Lance Armstrong doping case, more than two dozen witnesses provided testimony in the case and a handful of teammates confessed to cheating of their own but USADA chief said that was just the tip of the iceberg and added that it is important that an independent and meaningful Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established so that cycling can fully unshackle itself from the past and truly move forward and for the world to know what went on in cycling. Tygart further added that there are many more details of doping that are hidden, many more doping doctors, and corrupt team directors and the omerta has not yet been fully broken and despite the fact that today is a historic day for clean sport, it does not mean clean sport is guaranteed for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, double Olympic gold medalist Geraint Thomas says the Lance Armstrong doping scandal will be helpful in cleaning up the sport in the long run. Thomas, who won team pursuit gold at the Beijing and London Olympics, admits the scandal has tarnished cycling but says the sport is now cleaning up its act and cycling has to move on from the Armstrong affair. The 26-year-old is a member of Team Sky, which has a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and the staff of Sky have been asked to sign a statement that they have had no previous involvement in doping. Thomas, who has returned to road cycling following his track triumph at London 2012, said it is sad to see cycling getting dragged through the dirt again and said it is time to learn from it and move on at the same time and keep pushing forward like we have done the last few years.

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Monday 19, Nov 2012

  Pound Urges Tough Love From IOC

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Pound Urges Tough Love From IOC

Dick Pound, the former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) who for years waged an intense battle against the International Cycling Union (UCI) and disgraced rider Lance Armstrong, has lauded the investigation of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) into the supply, use, and distribution of performance enhancing drugs in the Lance Armstrong case.

Pound recently remarked that the revelations of pervasive doping in cycling are a vindication of anti-doping safeguards and ‘immensely embarrassing’ for the governing body of cycling, the UCI. In reference to Armstrong case, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said, “The good thing about this is it’s a made-in-America conclusion” and said and added, “There was this ongoing denial of ‘our hero can’t have done this’.

The USADA report against Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, resulted in a lifetime ban and the 41-year-old Texan rider was stripped of all his titles and now even his Syndey Olympic bronze is in danger.

The former WADA chairman at a WADA foundation board meeting aimed at drafting a tougher new code for anti-doping in sports said the report by USADA indicates that a good and serious agency can do good things and this is a vindication of the system. Pound also aimed at the UCI, whose president Pat McQuaid sat solemnly in the Montreal meetings and remarked that it is immensely embarrassing to the governing body of cycling that people managing its affairs could not seem to find wrongdoings by athletes and teams for years and all they are, in quotation marks, ‘shocked’.”

Pound also remarked that even the staunchest US supporters of the cyclist could not brush aside the investigation and the subsequent lifetime cycling ban handed down by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Before the UCI ratified the sanctions by USADA against the cyclist, many of Armstrong fans based in the United States believed him when he accused the USADA of launching an “unconstitutional witch hunt” against him. The ex-WADA head also acknowledged the bitter push back against efforts for cleaning up cheating when he was the chairman of global anti-doping body between 1999 and 2007 and said the pushback comes from the bad guys, not from the good guys and many said that he was against cycling and football.

In response to concerns raised by delegates about the time and costs associated with effectively cracking down of the scope of cheating in sports, Pound was unequivocal in urging national governments to take responsibility and remarked that national governments have a huge responsibility as they have the powers to investigate and they have the power to compel witnesses to provide evidence that sport authorities do not have. He also urged the International Olympic Committee to take a tough love approach and said the IOC has sort of punted to some degree to WADA and they do tests on occasion for the Olympics and rarely do anti-doping tests but they are reluctant to use the power of urging athletes to become compliant and saying they cannot participate.

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Sunday 18, Nov 2012

  No Winners For Armstrong Tour De France Era

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No Winners For Armstrong Tour De France Era

Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has ruled that no rider will receive the seven Tour de France titles stripped from Lance Armstrong and the Texan rider and his teammates should return their prize money. The UCI agreed “not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events” and leave the Tour winner’s list as blank for 1999-2005.

The UCI, acknowledging “a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period”, said the list of Tour winners will remain blank for the years from 1999 to 2005 and added that this may appear harsh for clean cyclists who rode but they will understand there was little honor to be gained in reallocating places. The cycling’s governing body said the 41-year-old Armstrong and “all other affected riders” in the case should return their prize money, which amounts to almost $4 million US in Tour money from Armstrong. The attorney of Armstrong, Sean Breen, declined to comment on the prize money demand.

Meanwhile, the cycling body has also ordered an independent investigation for evaluating allegations about its own conduct and relations with Lance Armstrong that were raised in the report of USADA, which detailed systematic cheating by the Texan and his teammates. UCI has been accused of accepting $125,000 from Armstrong for covering up suspicious doping tests; the Inquiry commission will also target riders and officials involved in doping programs.

In a statement, the UCI said a part of the commission will to be to identify ways for ensuring that persons caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage. John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency while replying to the statement said WADA, as an independent body itself, supports the decision to set up an independent external commission for examining the problem of doping in cycling and the most critical thing is to deal with this issue once and for all, and the World Anti-Doping Agency looks forward to the release of further details on the commission’s makeup and terms of reference. The WADA has previously said that it will not be contesting against the sanctions imposed against Lance Armstrong by USADA.

Meanwhile, a potentially explosive defamation suit filed by the UCI, its president Pat McQuaid and predecessor Hein Verbruggen against Irish journalist and former Tour rider Paul Kimmage has been put on hold and Kimmage has responded to the same by filing a lawsuit against McQuaid and Verbruggen.

The expulsion of Armstrong from cycling confirmed the USADA findings that his teams ran “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

McQuaid said in a statement the UCI is committed to turning around this painful episode in the history of our sport and will take whatever actions are deemed necessary by the independent commission to put cycling back on track. The cycling body will select an “independent sports body” and the advisory panel members have already been named by John Coates, the current president of the Australian Olympic Committee and chairman of the Australian Olympic Foundation.

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Thursday 11, Oct 2012

  George Hincapie Puts Last Nail On Lance Armstrong’s Sporting Career Coffin

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George Hincapie Puts Last Nail On Lance Armstrong’s Sporting Career Coffin

One of Lance Armstrong’s former team-mates and closest allies, George Hincapie, has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs. The 39-year-old American, who rode alongside Armstrong in each of his seven Tour de France wins, released a statement a few hours ago that he cheated. Regarded as Armstrong’s unofficial lieutenant during his record breaking feats in the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005, Hincapie joined a list of former Armstrong teammates, including Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, to admit to doping. Landis, Hamilton, and Hincapie were among 11 riders identified as having provided evidence to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in its investigation into doping in cycling.

Hincapie has been hailed as “America’s premier classics rider” following his tremendous second-place finish at 2005 Paris-Roubaix, the highest ever placing for an American rider. A fifteen-time Tour de France veteran, Hincapie is also the only American to win the Ghent-Wevelgem and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne classics and also the only supporting rider to ever be on a Tour winning team eight times.

Hincapie said he was approached by US Federal investigators two years ago and more recently by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. He added that he stopped making use of drugs six years ago and decided to come out clean in public about his own past in a bid to restore credibility to the sport. Hincapie added that he used banned substances during a part of his career and it was difficult for him to acknowledge the same. The cyclist rendered an apology to his family, fans, and teammates and said that he is looking forward to playing a significant part in developing, encouraging and helping young riders to compete and win with the best in the world.

Hincapie said he had disclosed the details of his doping to investigators. It is believed that the veteran American cyclist who raced alongside Lance Armstrong acknowledged to Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, that he had used a banned drug that boosts the number of red blood cells (EPO), and also engaged in blood transfusions, which is another banned practice. It is also believed that Hincapie had provided USADA with testimony that implicated Armstrong in alleged doping, including testosterone and EPO use and blood transfusions.

George Hincapie had never tested positive for any banned substances during his career. He told Lance Armstrong was very upset after his team got crushed in a race in Italy and said he believed other riders were “using stuff” and that something needed to be done. George Hincapie said to the United States Anti-Doping Agency that he was “generally aware” that Armstrong was using testosterone throughout the time the two were teammates. Hincapie testified that Armstrong contacted him for using his apartment in Girona, Spain to attend some guests and showed up with Luis Garcia del Moral, a doctor who worked with the team, and carrying what he believes was a blood bag.

An attorney for Armstrong, Tim Herman, bashed the coming report from USADA and said Lance Armstrong was the victim of a “witch hunt.”

In light of his cooperation with USADA, Hincapie is expected to receive a six-month suspension preventing him from competing in elite-level sports. This would be some good news for him as he retired from professional cycling in August and has plans to act as a mentor to other cyclists.

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Tuesday 28, Aug 2012

  ‘Truthful’ Armstrong Might Have Kept Tour Titles

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‘Truthful’ Armstrong Might Have Kept Tour Titles – Cliff Notes

United States Anti-Doping Agency executive Travis Tygart recently said Lance Armstrong might have kept up to five Tour de France titles had he fully cooperated with the anti-doping investigation which alleges the American is a cheat.

Armstrong could have been protected by an eight-year statute of limitations had he worked with investigators, said Tygart. The cyclist, seven-time winner of Tour de France, was accused by the USADA of using banned drugs and blood transfusions as part of an elaborate covert doping scheme. Armstrong said he had been tested hundreds of time and innocent but opted not to fight his case against the ant-doping agency in a formal court setting because he argues it is a “witch-hunt.”

In the meanwhile, the USADA has also banned supporters of Lance Armstrong from its Facebook page and even banned many Facebook users from commenting on its page.

With Armstrong dropping the case, the USADA stripped him of seven Tour de France titles to erase one of the most incredible achievements in sports. The cyclist was given an option to answer the charges at arbitration, but declined leading USADA to impose sanctions. The anti-doping agency remarked that the cyclist and five others deliberately concealed their doping for almost a decade. Tygart also said that the lifetime ban on Armstrong may be revisited if he comes clean about doping in cycling and added that there would be a reduction in Armstrong’s punishment if he would have been truthful and willing to meet to help the sport move forward for the good.

French anti-doping agency adviser Michel Rieu told Le Monde newspaper that Armstrong had a string of accomplices who helped him disguise use of performance-boosting EPO. Rieu added that Armstrong could thin his blood or replace his urine and was using EPO only in small quantities, so it was no longer there to detect.

The lawyers of Armstrong claim that the USADA doesn’t have the authority to issue sanctions against their client, claiming that is the remit of the International Cycling Union. Armstrong’s former coach Chris Carmichael said Lance Armstrong succeeded because he was the best trained, the most focused, the most disciplined, and the most dedicated to excellence and the cyclist was the most talented and gifted athlete there was out there.

During a deposition, French newspaper Le Monde reported claims by Betsy and Frankie Andreu that the cyclist had admitted using performance-enhancing drugs to his physician just after brain surgery in 1996. A former employee of Armstrong, Mike Anderson, claimed in 2005 that he discovered a box of androstenone while cleaning the apartment of Armstrong that was denied by Armstrong; Anderson and Armstrong reached an out-of-court settlement in November 2005. Armstrong was accused by his former teammate, Tyler Hamilton, that he and Lance had together taken EPO before and during the 1999, 2000, and 2001 Tours de France. According to Floyd Landis, Armstrong had been a willing participant. Two of his other accomplices, Frankie Andreu and George Hincapie, told federal investigators that they witnessed Armstrong taking banned substances. Before this, it was reported by French newspaper L’Équipe that six urine samples taken from Armstrong during the prologue and five stages of the 1999 Tour, frozen and stored at a French lab, had tested positive for EPO in recent retesting.

 

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Monday 02, May 2011

  Frigo sacked after drugs raid

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Frigo sacked after drugs raidThe Fassa Bortolo team sacked Giro d’Italia rider Dario Frigo after illegal drugs were found during a police raid on his hotel room in San Remo.

Manager Giancarlo Ferretti communicated on phone that the team had received an official notice from the police that drugs had been found.

Ferretti said, “Dario admitted this and so, under the rules of the team, he was immediately sacked.”

Wednesday 29, Dec 2010

  Armstrong staffer testifies before grand jury

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Armstrong staffer testifies before grand juryExercise physiologist Allen Lim, a staff member for Lance Armstrong‘s Team RadioShack, testified recently before a grand jury being presented evidence of alleged doping in professional cycling.

Lim said in a statement that the appearance helped him to “set the record straight” about his attempts of preventing doping in cycling.

Longtime Armstrong friend Stephanie McIlvain was also summoned by prosecutors and her attorney told the jury panel that she had never heard Armstrong admit that he used banned substances.

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