• Cycling

Armstrong may face perjury charges

ESPN staff
October 12, 2012
Lance Armstrong could face criminal charges

The gravity of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) findings regarding the systematic doping of Lance Armstrong is beginning to be realised after a report by the agency claimed the 41-year-old could be subject to charges of perjury.

Armstrong has been accused of spearheading a "massive and pervasive" doping programme at US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team between 1998 and 2004 - something he still vehemently denies. The allegation is based on USADA evidence that he both administered and supplied performance-enhancing drugs during a career in which he won seven Tour de France titles - which have now been stripped.

In 2005, Armstrong told a Dallas court under oath that he had never taken banned substances. Furthermore, he claimed to have never broken Tour de France rules.

The USADA report, which features 1,000 pages of evidence and is based on the testimonies of 26 individuals - including 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates, details information to prove both of Armstrong's claims untrue, ultimately resulting to perjury.

The report says: "As demonstrated by the testimony of numerous witnesses in this case, each of the above statements made under oath [by Armstrong] and subject to the penalties of perjury were materially false and misleading when made."

Providing an example to support the claim, the USADA report recalls a time when saline was injected to mask the banned blood-boosting agent EPO.

"The USPS team made regular use of saline infusions, a prohibited method, which permits a rider to quickly reduce his hematocrit level in order to beat the UCI's health check 50% hematocrit threshold and to fool the biological passport programme," the report said.

"One of the bolder examples of the use of saline to fool the testers was at the 1998 World Championships when Armstrong's doctor literally smuggled past a UCI official a litre of saline concealed under his rain coat and administered it to Armstrong to lower his hematocrit right before a blood check."

Armstrong also stands accused of intimidating his fellow team-mates not only into taking part in the doping programme, but also in keeping quiet about such practices. Five such individuals have been banned for six months by USADA, a reduced punishment based on the help they gave to the investigation.

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