Despite the criminal inquiry headed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office being dropped in February with no charges filed, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has filed formal doping charges against Lance Armstrong.
In a letter dated June 12 and sent to 10 individuals, the USADA made previously undisclosed doping results public, charging that samples collected in 2009 and 2010 were consistent with blood manipulation. Other recipients include Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, team director Johan Bruyneel, and several riders that now face competition bans.
The letter states that multiple riders will testify with first hand knowledge that Armstrong used, distributed and administered EPO, testosterone, masking agents and/or other performance enhancing substances.
In a statement issued by his rep, Armstrong retorted:
“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,” Armstrong said in a statement released by his publicist. “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. Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me.”
While the USADA can not bring criminal charges, it does have the power to prevent athletes from competing. As it stands, Armstrong won’t be able to compete in the Ironman triathlon in Italy later this month, which he had been planning as his qualifying effort for the Ironman World Championships in Kona this fall.
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