USADA Report Described How Lance Armstrong Played Safe

The secret behind doping of Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist accused by the United States Anti-doping Agency of indulging into the use of anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles, has been brought to the limelight by the agency’s latest report.

In its dossier against Armstrong, the USADA cited witness testimony, financial records, and laboratory results revealed that the cyclist was centrally involved in a sprawling, sophisticated doping program and made use of both cunning and farcical methods to beat cycling’s drug testing system. The US Anti-doping Agency even provided new evidence that Lance Armstrong was doping the last two times he competed in the Tour de France.

The agency asked Christopher J. Gore, the head of physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport, to analyze test results from thirty-eight samples of the cyclist between February 2009 and the end of last April. The samples taken during the 2009 and 2010 Tours showed blood values whose likelihood “of occurring naturally was less than one in a million,” and other indications of blood doping. Despite the fact that the analysis done by Gore was not a conventional anti-doping test, the agency concluded that the findings “build a compelling argument consistent with blood doping.”

The most basic technique outlined in the report was simply running away or hiding. USADA remarked “the adequacy of unannounced, no-notice testing taking place in the sport of cycling remains a concern.” It was even reported that the cyclist abruptly dropped out of one race after teammate George Hincapie warned Armstrong about drug testers at the team hotel through a text message. In an affidavit, Hincapie said Armstrong had just taken a solution containing olive oil and testosterone.

The report disclosed that one of Armstrong’s doctors “smuggled a bag of saline under his raincoat, getting it past the tester and administering saline to Armstrong before Armstrong was required to provide a blood sample.” This was done to restore blood values of Armstrong to a level that would not attract attention. It was also disclosed that Armstrong initially tried EPO as there was no test for it and later switched to blood transfusions, which was a technique initially without a test. The report said Dr. Michele Ferrari who was a central figure in the doping scheme found out that if regular, if small, doses of EPO were injected directly into veins rather than under the skin, Lance Armstrong and others could continue using the hormone without fear of a positive test result.

The drugs used by Armstrong and his teammates were generally supplied by José Marti who worked as a trainer for Armstrong’s United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, according to the report. Armstrong tested positive for a corticosteroid during the 1999 Tour but avoid a sanction after the team produced a backdated prescription from one of its doctors to suggest that the cyclist had received it in a cream used to treat a saddle sore, according to a former team employee.

USADA even revealed that the cyclist was tested only 60 times and not 500 to 600 times over 14 years, as claimed by the cyclist. The agency said International Cycling Union had tested him about 200 times but these tests were for a health program rather than for prohibited substances.

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