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Friday 27, Feb 2015

  Cookson Promises Transparency Over Doping Report

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UCI President Brian Cookson has promised that the Cycling Independent Reform Commission will be transparent with its report on doping within the sport.

Speaking at the world tracking cycling championships in Paris, Cookson remarked he thinks there will be many uncomfortable readings in the report and we all should be ready for them. The Briton remarked the UCI will not engage itself in FIFA-style wrangling over publication of the CIRC report into allegations that the UCI was a party to wrongdoings. In the past, Lance Armstrong has accused the UCI and its earlier presidents, Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid, of covering up positive doping tests.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced on January 8th 2014 about the creation of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). The independent body is expected to put its findings about doping practices within the sport to ensure that the sport is operated smoothly and without any allegations.

The independent commission was established after Lance Armstrong, one of the most decorated cyclists of all time, was banned for life and stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles that he won from 1998 to 2005. The USADA report was based on testimonies from many former teammates of Armstrong, including George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton. It concluded that the cyclist engaged in “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” The former American professional road racing cyclist later admitted in January 2013 that he made use of banned drugs and methods like Testosterone, EPO, blood transfusions, and cortisone to stay ahead of peers.

The Cycling Independent Reform Commission was trusted with the task of investigating whether the world governing body of cycling was complicit in wrongdoing. The CIRC is expected to report its findings to the cycling’s governing body by end of this month and the UCI will then publish the document in full, according to Brian Cookson.

In May last year, Lance Armstrong met with the CIRC in a meeting that lasted for seven hours. It is believed that Armstrong has been critical of the first 18 months of presidency of Cookson, who took over reins of the cycling’s body from Pat McQuaid in September 2013. Brian Cookson remarked that he is not worried about what Armstrong might or might not say about him as he is entitled to his opinion. The UCI chief added Armstrong always has an agenda.

Armstrong’s attorney Elliot Peters revealed that the meeting between his client and the CIRC was a very good meeting. Peters also revealed at that time that if you made a list of all the questions people would want to ask about Lance and his activities in cycling and everything else, those were the questions that were asked and answered. Peters also remarked that the life ban imposed on Lance Armstrong is unfairly harsh and should be reduced. The attorney also said his client is talking in the spirit of not trying to benefit by getting somebody else in trouble, but in the spirit of let us tell the truth.

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Thursday 30, Oct 2014

  Armstrong Banned From Riding George Hincapie Gran Fondo

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Armstrong Banned From Riding George Hincapie Gran Fondo

According to a statement by USA Cycling, disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has been barred from participating in the non-competitive Gran Fondo Hincapie as it comes under the umbrella of USA Cycling.

The Gran Fondo Hincapie, which is named after George Hincapie, is a 128 km touring trek set for this weekend around Greenville.

USA Cycling spokesman Bill Kellick said USA Cycling has informed USADA that the Hincapie Gran Fondo constitutes a cycling ‘activity’ that is ‘authorized’ by USA Cycling as those terms are used in the World Anti-Doping Code and in the Anti-Doping provisions of the UCI (International Cycling Union) Cycling Regulations and added under these provisions, an athlete’s suspension bars participation in an authorized activity such as this. Kellick added the UCI has confirmed USA Cycling’s interpretation and added that the World Anti-Doping Code vests jurisdiction in UCI and in USADA to determine whether an athlete has violated the terms of any suspension, as well as to assess any sanctions that might accompany an adverse determination. The USA Cycling spokesman said USA Cycling was asked by the US Anti-Doping Agency to look into the matter after it learned that Lance Armstrong was planning to ride and reunite with several of his teammates, including George Hincapie.

A number of current professionals competing in the race, including Larry Warbasse expressed disappointment with the statement of USA Cycling. Warbasse said he doesn’t think Armstrong is the evil guy he has been depicted to be, in all these books and movies, but he supposes that is ultimately going to be left up for people to decide for themselves. Warbasse said Lance took the brunt of the USADA investigation, much harder than anyone else and in his opinion, and he might deserve a bit of a break.

Hincapie said the Fondo is not supposed to have an intended or implied message; at least that’s not what we are shooting for. The former cyclist said it is just a celebration of cycling with friends and fans that also support what we feel are important causes. The former teammate of Armstrong said he knows he had made mistakes along with some of the other riders in attendance, but he believes in, and hope for, second chances for everyone and added he is very fortunate to count many former and current professionals as friends, and will leave it to his peers to decide how they regard me, and the event.

In 2013, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping. He was handed out a life ban from the sport and admitted that all his seven consecutive Tour de France wins were fuelled by performance-enhancing drugs. During a television interview broadcast with American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, Armstrong admitted to using substances like Testosterone, EPO, Human growth hormone, and other drugs for dominating international cycling. The Texan also admitted that he bullied others who accused him of being a cheat and repeatedly denied he ever used banned performance enhancing drugs.

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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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Monday 14, Jul 2014

  Lance Armstrong Grilled Under Oath

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Lance Armstrong was recently forced to provide sworn videotaped testimony about his doping history. The deposition day for the disgraced former cyclist came as part of a fraud case filed against him by SCA Promotions, a sports insurance company in Dallas.

Armstrong made a request to the Texas appeals court and the Texas Supreme Court for stopping the deposition from happening but his request was rejected by both courts. This forced the ex-cyclist to provide answers to questions raised by SCA Promotions attorney Jeffrey Tillotson, who is the sole opposing attorney to interview Lance Armstrong under oath about doping. Tillotson also questioned the cyclist under oath when he denied doping and lied about using banned performance enhancing drugs in 2005-06.

SCA Promotions has filed the lawsuit against Lance Armstrong and is seeking the return of $12 million in costs and bonuses it paid him for winning the Tour de France in 2002-04. This case was thereafter moved to arbitration and a panel is expected to hear the case after some weeks. Lance Armstrong was subpoenaed for the deposition as part of the process for gathering evidence before the hearing.

The cyclist is also facing a separate fraud lawsuit filed by the federal government. In this case, prosecutors are seeking more than $96 million from Lance Armstrong and Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis, who accused Armstrong of doping and encouraging doping within the USPS team, and may get a share any award under the U.S. whistleblower law. The cyclist was expected to testify under oath at a June 23 deposition in Austin but the judge in this whistleblower suit accusing Lance Armstrong put on hold a deposition of the former cyclist. Originally brought by former teammate Floyd Landis in June 2010, this lawsuit was joined in part by the Justice Department in February 2013. Singer Sheryl Crow, the former girlfriend of Armstrong, is listed as a government witness besides Armstrong’s ex-wife, Kristin Armstrong. Cyclists Frankie Andreu, George Hincapie, Tyler Hamilton, and Floyd Landis may be part of a list of potential witnesses against Armstrong. The case is U.S. v. Tailwind Sports Corp., 10-cv-00976, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

The 42-year-old former cyclist, who won a record seven consecutive Tour de France titles, was banned for life and stripped of his Tour de France victories after the United States Anti-Doping Agency found Armstrong guilty of using banned drugs. Armstrong later confessed to doping in January last year during a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Armstrong sued SCA Promotions in 2004 by claiming a breach of contract after the sports insurance company refused to pay his bonus for winning the Tour de France. SCA Promotions withheld the payment and claimed Lance Armstrong cheated to win the race. In a testimony in 2005, the ex-cyclist said he “never” used performance enhancing drugs and race the bike straight up fair and square. With help of the false testimony, Armstrong was able to win a $7.5 million settlement from the company in 2006. Terms of the settlement agreement stipulated that this case could not be reopened.

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Monday 16, Dec 2013

  USADA Chief Slams Door Shut On Armstrong

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USADA Chief Slams Door Shut On Armstrong

Travis Tygart, the CEO of United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), has remarked that he has now closed any door of chance for Lance Armstrong cooperating with the agency and getting his life ban reduced.

Tygart, speaking at a seminar at the Ulleval Stadium in the capital of Norway, said Armstrong told him prior to Thanksgiving that he was not interested in speaking to the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The USADA chief went on to add that the banned cyclist could have done good to image of cycling if he had come all clean when he was first charged by the anti-doping agency.

Armstrong was in discussion with USADA about speaking under oath and remarked that he would be open to speak before UCI’s independent commission but does not want the United States Anti-Doping Agency to get involved.

Former US Postal Service rider, Steffen Kjærgaard, may be called as one of the witnesses called for testifying against former US Postal Service team manager Johan Bruyneel. Kjærgaard admitted to doping and was a teammate of Lance Armstrong on the 2000 and 2001 editions of the Tour de France. He also spoke at the seminar at the Ulleval Stadium.

In January this year, Lance Armstrong made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey talk show and admitted to doping. The cyclist however refrained from admitting that he used performance enhancing drugs after his return to the sport in 2009, as claimed by USADA in its reasoned decision.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency disclosed that the USPS Team doping conspiracy was designed professionally for pressuring and grooming athletes to make use of dangerous drugs and evade detection while ensuring secrecy of superior doping practices to gain an unfair competitive advantage. USADA’s reasoned decision was supported by different categories of eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence and testimonies from Armstrong’s former teammates: Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

Armstrong also denied before Oprah that the world governing body of cycling, the UCI, and its then President Hein Verbruggen, had helped him cover up his doping. He however claimed last month that Verbruggen had been complicit in a bogus and the backdated prescription for a saddle sore cream for covering up a positive test for a corticosteroid in the 1999 Tour de France.

Meanwhile, wife of Frankie Andreu has questioned the motives of Armstrong for his apparent contrition. Betsy Andreu remarked the disgraced cyclist is still trying to manipulate the situation to his advantage and was acting out of self-interest. She added nothing has changed with Lance and he is still desperately trying to control the narrative but the problem for him is not many are listening. Betsy also noted that Lance has a history of reaching out to people before key legal dates and said she believes that Armstrong’s episodes of reaching out to the likes of ex-pro cyclists Christophe Bassons and Filippo Simeoni are influenced by a court appointment in the whistleblower case and the arbitration hearing of Bruyneel.

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Thursday 17, Oct 2013

  Cultural Shift In Cycling Hailed By Tygart

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Cultural Shift In Cycling Hailed By Tygart

USADA chief Travis Tygart has remarked he is happy with the cultural shift in cycling in the wake of the fall of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong from grace.

Tygart remarked there is still more to do but we are now getting awfully close to dismantling the system that allowed this to happen and added that clean athletes have more chance in cycling to be successful than they ever have. The USADA chief went on to say that ultimately it’s the riders’ culture and they have to embrace it to keep it clean and there will always be a few who try to gain an unfair advantage, but right now, the majority have an opportunity to be successful, not to have to leave the sport, but to be in a position to win without having to cheat with performance enhancing drugs, that is a significant cultural shift. Travis Tygart added clean cyclists can have renewed hope that their rights will be upheld and a culture of integrity will be embraced and the fact that the president who oversaw the sport during this dirty, corrupt period is gone — and said he thinks this is a huge victory for clean athletes.

Tygart, the chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency, says he believes clean cyclists now have a better chance of continuing successful careers than ever before. USADA brought down one of the most successful and powerful men in the world of cycling and provided a wide range of evidence including different categories of eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence. USADA accused Armstrong and the US Postal cycling team of running the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen. The US Anti-Doping Agency revealed that USPS Team doping conspiracy was designed professionally for grooming and pressurizing cyclists to make use of dangerous drugs and evade detection. It was also designed in such a way that cyclists can ensure secrecy of the conspiracy and gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency was supported by many of the former teammates of Lance Armstrong (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie). USADA gave Armstrong the opportunity to tell the entire truth but he decided to exercise his legal right not to contest the evidence, which meant that he was banned for life and his competitive results from 1998 onwards were disqualified.

The downfall of Armstrong is attributed by many as one of the biggest reasons behind the ouster of ex-UCI president Pat McQuaid who was recently defeated by Britain’s Brian Cookson in the UCI presidential elections. It was alleged in cycling circles that McQuaid and his predecessor defended the doping practices of Lance Armstrong by hiding his positive test results and they were even accused of taking cash from the cyclist to cover up the tests, an allegation which is denied by both former UCI presidents.

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Tuesday 30, Jul 2013

  Cycling Australia Shattered By O’Grady’s Doping Admission

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Cycling Australia Shattered By O’Grady’s Doping Admission

Cycling Australia (CA) says the doping admission of Australian cyclist Stuart O’Grady is a “real disappointment” but expressed confidence that cycling can regain public confidence.

The cyclist admitted to using the banned blood boosting agent Erythropoietin (EPO), just three days after he announced his retirement from cycling. The 39-year-old cyclist had been named in a French Senate inquiry into sports doping, which looked at the 1998 Tour and found the top three finishers, Italian Marco Pantani, Germany’s Jan Ullrich, and American Bobby Julich, were taking EPO. The cyclist remarked he used EPO in the 1998 Tour de France that was overshadowed by the Festina doping scandal. The celebrated cyclist recently announced his retirement after helping his GreenEdge team to a time trial victory in this year’s Tour, his 17th appearance tying the record of American George Hincapie. The Australian cyclist was among 12 riders whose tests were said to be “suspicious” and the 39-year-old did not waste time confirming he had used EPO.

Cycling Australia chief executive Graham Fredericks says his organization was shocked by O’Grady’s admission and added this is a real disappointment to us as a custodian of the sport. He added Cycling Australia can only take a fairly hard line in response to this news overnight. Immediately after his confession, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) called for him to resign from its Athletes’ Commission. However, his most recent professional team, GreenEDGE, released a statement supporting his decision to admit to doping, and said it is now O’Grady’s responsibility to help rebuild the public trust in the sport. The statement also said that one mistake should not tarnish an exceptional career.

A six-time Olympian and world champion on the track, O’Grady insisted his doping in 1998 was a one-off bad decision. Cycling Australia chief executive Graham Fredericks however said the decorated career of the cyclist would remain clouded and remarked Stuart has been one of Australia’s most enduring road riders who appear to have made a poor decision which will regrettably now have an impact on the legacy of his career.

The cyclist may be stripped of his Olympic medals after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs at the 1998 Tour de France. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) spokesman Mike Tancred remarked it’s a matter for the international federation in regard to the medals, so the UCI (International Cycling Union) will consider the medals and they will then make some recommendation to the IOC (International Olympic Commission). O’Grady may also stand to lose his three national citations, which include an Order of Australia Medal awarded in 2005.

Cycling Australia however declined to condemn O’Grady, blaming the era and the European “environment”. In a statement, the governing body said the late 1990s was clearly a dark period in cycling’s international history. AOC president John Coates said in a statement remarked the “everybody else was doing it” line was no defense for cheating and remarked this was a shameful period for the sport of cycling which has been well documented, that is no excuse for the decision taken by Stuart O’Grady.

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Monday 29, Jul 2013

  Australian Cycling Legend Admits To Doping

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Australian Cycling Legend Admits To Doping

Stuart O’Grady has admitted to using banned blood-booster EPO before the 1998 Tour de France. Confession by the Australian cycling great comes just a few days after the 39-year-old Olympian and 17-time Tour rider announced his retirement from the sport, a day after completing a 17th Tour de France.

The 39-year-old equaled the record of American George Hincapie of 17 appearances in the Grande Boucle, the most prestigious cycling race in the world. At the time of announcing his retirement, the Orica-GreenEdge rider said he has always wanted his career to end with something truly special and this year’s Tour de France has given me that.

O’Grady won four Olympic track cycling medals from 1992 to 2004, including gold in the Madison in Athens. O’Grady also won Paris-Roubaix in 2007 and claimed victory in four Tour de France stages (including two individual stages and two team time trials) wearing the yellow jersey for three days in 1998 and six days in 2001, while winning the Tour Down Under in his homeland in 1999 and 2001.

The Australian cyclist admitted that he made a decision leading into the 1998 Tour de France and sourced EPO himself. He added that there was no one else involved and the team was not involved in any way and remarked he just had to drive over the border and purchase EPO at any pharmacy.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has called for O’Grady to resign from its Athletes’ Commission since the news broke.  The AOC released a statement in which it was confirmed that O’Grady has been asked to resign from the Athletes’ Commission. OC President John Coates said members of our London Olympic Team who elected Stuart to the Athletes’ Commission are entitled to be angry knowing they had supported an athlete who had cheated. Coates added that members of the athletes’ commission are chosen for their qualities of integrity and leadership and by his admission Stuart does not deserve to be a member of that group. The AOC President added that there was no excuse for O’Grady’s actions and the 1998 Tour was a shameful period for the sport of cycling which has been well documented, that is no excuse for the decision taken by Stuart O’Grady, and one can only hope that cycling and especially the Tour de France is cleaner as a result of today’s revelations and the Lance Armstrong saga.

The former track cyclist who won medals at three Olympics took the first of his four career Tour stage wins in 1998 in a race that was overshadowed by the Festina doping scandal. O’Grady was recently named in a French Senate inquiry into sports doping which looked at the 1998 Tour and found the top three finishers, Italian Marco Pantani, Germany’s Jan Ullrich, and American Bobby Julich, were taking EPO.

Meanwhile, O’Grady’s most recent team, Orica GreenEDGE, has released a statement supporting his decision, saying that one mistake should not tarnish an exceptional career. General manager Shayne Bannan remarked ORICA-GreenEDGE supports Stuart O’Grady’s decision to step forward and place the findings of the French Senate Report of today into perspective regarding his own past and added that like the majority of the riders in his generation, he was also exposed to the issues and wrongdoings of the sport and made some wrong choices in that environment.

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Tuesday 26, Feb 2013

  Lance Armstrong To Challenge USPS Claims

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Lance Armstrong To Challenge USPS Claims

According to recent reports, Lance Armstrong is planning to argue that the case of United States Postal Service against him is too old to pursue. The banned cyclist will also be arguing that he never submitted a false claim to the government, according to a person close to Armstrong’s defense team.

The legal team of the disgraced cyclist, who won seven consecutive Tour de France titles, will argue what the U.S. government knew or should have known about doping on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team but made no attempts to stop it. This strategy demonstrates the technicalities that the 41-year-old retired cyclist will seek after it was recently announced by the U.S. Justice Department that it has joined a civil fraud case against Lance Armstrong under the False Claims Act.

The cyclist vehemently denied all accusations of performance enhancing drug use but succumbed to damning report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that included testimony from eleven teammates of Lance Armstrong (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie). While Lance Armstrong was banned for life, two other members of the USPS Team, Dr. Michele Ferrari and Dr. Garcia del Moral, also received lifetime bans for perpetrating this doping conspiracy while three other members of the USPS Team: Johan Bruyneel, the team director; Dr. Pedro Celaya, a team doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti, the team trainer, decided to contest the charges.

The case against Armstrong may be stronger after he recently confessed to using performance enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles during a TV talk show but a big early hurdle for the government will be the statute of limitations.

In 2010, the suit was first filed by cycling cheat, Floyd Landis, Armstrong’s former USPS teammate, and it was argued that Lance Armstrong and his teammates defrauded the government through their doping scheme on the USPS team. The suit argues that Armstrong and others violated their USPS sponsorship contracts and that the government should get its money back as they used banned drugs and blood transfusions to boost themselves on the bike. From 2001 to 2004, the United States Postal Service paid $31 million to sponsor Armstrong’s team and Landis under the False Claims Act can seek to recover triple that amount for the government that would possibly be more than $90 million.

The attorneys of Armstrong will be arguing that the whole case should be thrown out due to the six-year statute of limitations, which started when Landis filed the case in 2010. On the other hand, the government is expected to argue that the fraud was concealed and that the six-year rule should not apply. The government’s case may receive a setback from the fact that the USPS team hired a public-relations firm to boost its image instead of investigating or filing of a false claim when doping allegations swirled around the team. Furthermore, since Armstrong never entered into a contract with the USPS or the government, he could not have submitted a false claim to them. The contracts by USPS were with Tailwind Sports, the management company of the cycling team of Lance Armstrong but Tailwind also never certified that its riders wouldn’t or didn’t dope.

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Thursday 24, Jan 2013

  Ex-UCI Head Says Riders Were Warned

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Ex-UCI Head Says Riders Were Warned

The world governing body of cycling warned Lance Armstrong and other riders when they came close to testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, according to the former President of UCI, Hein Verbruggen.

Verbruggen, in an interview with the Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland published on Wednesday, said dozens of the top riders and team managers were invited to the headquarters of the UCI in Aigle “one by one”, where the chief doctor of the cycling body, Mario Zorzoli, gave them presentations on its anti-doping strategy and information about suspect values. The former UCI President this was part of a conscious strategy to try to reduce doping.

Verbruggen justified his defense of Armstrong during his tenure despite the fact that the world governing body of cycling warned him about his red blood cell values being suspect. He further added that he is not responsible if a cyclist is tested 215 times and he is always negative and the problem lies in the test itself.

The Australian anti-doping expert instrumental in developing the biological passport for the UCI between 2008 and 2012 before he resigned, Michael Ashenden, remarked he was not aware of any other international federation pursuing a similar strategy.

The World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency have refused to cooperate with the independent commission set up by the UCI to look into claims that the governing body covered up a positive drug test in 2001 in return for a donation of $125,000 from Lance Armstrong.  Meanwhile, Brian Cookson, the president of British Cycling, has remarked that he is fully supportive of UCI president Pat McQuaid who since his election in 2005 has done an impressive job in frequently difficult circumstances and added that it is absolutely vital for the future of our sport that we all remain united.

Verbruggen, who is still an honorary president of the UCI, and his successor, Pat McQuaid, have been under intense pressure ever since the Lance Armstrong doping scandal wherein the disgraced cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and admitted doping throughout each of them. A lifetime ban was imposed on the cycling icon by the UCI after the United States Anti-Doping Agency submitted its reasoned decision that was supported by the testimony of many of Armstrong’s former teammates (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie).

The evidence brought forward by USADA included direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data, and laboratory test results that proved the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirmed the deceptive activities of the USPS Team.

After this, Lance Armstrong and two other members of the USPS Team, Dr. Michele Ferrari and Dr. Garcia del Moral, also received lifetime bans for perpetrating this doping conspiracy while three other members of the USPS Team (Johan Bruyneel, the team director; Dr. Pedro Celaya, a team doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti, the team trainer) decided to contest the charges and take their cases.

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