• Cycling

USADA claims proof of Armstrong 'fraud'

ESPN staff
October 10, 2012

Lance Armstrong not only took part in doping practices throughout the majority of his career, but also expected - and supplied - his team-mates to do likewise, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) claimed on Wednesday.

USADA released 1,000 pages of evidence behind its 'reasoned decision' to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and hand him a lifetime ban from the sport of cycling. The 41-year-old still maintains his innocence.

Based on the testimonies of 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates at the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, Armstrong's actions were described as a "massive fraud" brought about by the most "sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme" in the sport's history.

"USADA has found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance Armstrong engaged in serial cheating through the use, administration and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and methods that Armstrong participated in running in the US Postal Service Team as a doping conspiracy," the USADA document said.

"Armstrong and his co-conspirators sought to achieve their ambitions through a massive fraud now more fully exposed. So ends one of the most sordid chapters in sports history."

It is claimed by USADA, based on findings from its investigation, that Armstrong's desire for victory was so great that he not only engaged in doping practices himself, but required his supporting team-mates to follow suit.

"His goal (of winning the Tour de France multiple times) led him to depend on EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions but also, more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his team-mates would likewise use drugs to support his goals if not their own.

"It was not enough that his team-mates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping programme outlined for them or be replaced. He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it.

"Armstrong's use of drugs was extensive, and the doping programme on his team, designed in large part to benefit Armstrong, was massive and pervasive."

In a statement, Armstrong's attorney Tim Herman responded by attacking the credibility of USADA's case.

"[USADA chief executive Travis T] Tygart's statement confirms the alleged 'reasoned decision' from USADA will be 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 said.

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