There have always been rumors and now the truth may finally come out: did Lance Armstrong take performance-enhancing drugs to help him to his cycling wins? The U.S. Anti-Doping agency believes he did and today brought doping charges against him.
The charges ban Armstrong from competing and though the 40-year-old retired from competitive cycling in 2011 he competes in Ironman triathlons, but now cannot.
A 15-page letter sent to Armstrong and others connected to his racing career by the USADA has been obtained by many media outlets, including the Washington Post. That letter states that it collected blood samples from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 and those samples were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”
Lance Armstrong: racing team charged
The letter also informed Armstrong, who won the Tour de France a record 7 times, that doping charges will also be brought against others associated with his racing teams and career. A team trainer, Pepe Martin, and team doctors Pedro Celaya and Luis Garicia del Moral will be charged. A team manager, Johan Bruyneel, will also be charged. Here is some of what Armstrong is being accused of: using the blood-booster EPO, using blood transfusions, using human growth hormones, anti-inflammatory steroids and testosterone.
The letter says “multiple riders with firsthand knowledge” will testify that he did use EPO, blood transfusions and testosterone. The letter also speaks of Armstrong distributing performance-enhancing drugs to to other cyclists as far back as 1998, and human growth hormones before that. There will also be witnesses to testify that he administered drugs to other cyclists.
One who claims he has knowledge of Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs is a fellow American cyclist, Floyd Landis. Landis won the Tour de France in 2006 but was stripped of the title after a positive test, initially fighting the results but eventually admitting he had doped. In the Spring of 2010 Landis clearly identified Armstrong as another American cyclist who used performance-enhancing drugs.
Lance Armstrong: "I have never doped"
The United States Attorney's office in L.A. recently concluded a two-year investigation into doping in cycling in America and did not bring charges against Armstrong. The USADA has said all along whether charges were brought by the US Attorney's office or not would not affect their decision on whether they would charge him.
On June 13 Armstrong released the following statement: “I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence.”
While the USADA cannot bring criminal charges, if Armstrong were to be found guilty he could be banned from competitions for life and stripped of his awards.