USADA’s Statement Regarding Lance Armstrong’s Lifetime Competition Ban

Lance Armstrong’s statement is published here. Following is the decree from the United States Anti Doping Agency concerning Armstrong’s decision not to contest their allegations and their subsequent banning him from cycling competition:

USADA announced today that Lance Armstrong has chosen not to move forward with the independent arbitration process and as a result has received a lifetime period of ineligibility and disqualification of all competitive results from August 1, 1998 through the present, as the result of his anti-doping rule violations stemming from his involvement in the United States Postal Service (USPS) Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy (USPS Conspiracy).

Following the dismissal of Mr. Armstrong’s lawsuit on Monday, August 20, 2012, by the federal court in Austin, Texas, Mr. Armstrong had until midnight on Thursday, August 23, to contest the evidence against him in a full evidentiary hearing with neutral arbitrators as provided by U.S. law. However, when given the opportunity to challenge the evidence against him, and with full knowledge of the consequences, Mr. Armstrong chose not to contest the fact that he engaged in doping violations from at least August 1, 1998 and participated in a conspiracy to cover up his actions. As a result of Mr. Armstrong’s decision, USADA is required under the applicable rules, including the World Anti-Doping Code under which he is accountable, to disqualify his competitive results and suspend him from all future competition.

“Nobody wins when an athlete decides to cheat with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, but clean athletes at every level expect those of us here on their behalf, to pursue the truth to ensure the win-at-all-cost culture does not permanently overtake fair, honest competition” said USADA CEO, Travis T. Tygart. “Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case.”

As is every athlete’s right, if Mr. Armstrong would have contested the USADA charges, all of the evidence would have been presented in an open legal proceeding for him to challenge. He chose not to do this knowing these sanctions would immediately be put into place.

The evidence against Lance Armstrong arose from disclosures made to USADA by more than a dozen witnesses who agreed to testify and provide evidence about their firsthand experience and/or knowledge of the doping activity of those involved in the USPS Conspiracy as well as analytical data. As part of the investigation Mr. Armstrong was invited to meet with USADA and be truthful about his time on the USPS team but he refused.

On June 12, 2012, USADA issued a notice letter informing Mr. Armstrong and five other individuals, including the USPS team director, team trainer and three team doctors, of USADA’s intent to open proceedings against them. On June 28, 2012, following a review process set forth in the applicable rules, USADA notified Mr. Armstrong and the other five individuals that the independent review panel’s finding confirmed sufficient and in fact overwhelming evidence, and that USADA was charging them with rule violations.

Numerous witnesses provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong or through Armstrong’s admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005, and that he had previously used EPO, testosterone and hGH through 1996. Witnesses also provided evidence that Lance Armstrong gave to them, encouraged them to use and administered doping products or methods, including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from 1999 through 2005. Additionally, scientific data showed Mr. Armstrong’s use of blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions during Mr. Armstrong’s comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour de France.

The anti-doping rule violations for which Mr. Armstrong is being sanctioned are:

(1) Use and/or attempted use of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.

(2) Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.

(3) Trafficking of EPO, testosterone, and corticosteroids.

(4) Administration and/or attempted administration to others of EPO, testosterone, and cortisone.

(5) Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.

These activities are defined as anti-doping rule violations under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, USA Cycling rules and the International Cycling Union (UCI) Anti-Doping Rules (UCI ADR), all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

In accordance with the Code, aggravating circumstances including involvement in multiple anti-doping rule violations and participation in a sophisticated doping scheme and conspiracy as well as trafficking, administration and/or attempted administration of a prohibited substance or method, justify a period of ineligibility greater than the standard sanction. Accordingly, Mr. Armstrong has received a lifetime period of ineligibility for his numerous anti-doping rule violations, including his involvement in trafficking and administering doping products to others. A lifetime period of ineligibility as described in the Code prevents Mr. Armstrong from participating in any activity or competition organized by any signatory to the Code or any member of any signatory.

In addition to the lifetime ban, Mr. Armstrong will be disqualified from any and all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to August 1, 1998, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, winnings, finishes, points and prizes.

As noted above, Mr. Armstrong challenged the arbitration process in federal court. In response, the court found that “the USADA arbitration rules, which largely follow those of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) are sufficiently robust to satisfy the requirements of due process.” USADA’s rules provide that where an athlete or other person is sanctioned because they fail to contest USADA’s charges in arbitration, the sanction shall not be reopened or subject to appeal unless the athlete or other person can demonstrate that he did not receive actual or constructive notice of the opportunity to contest the sanction. Because Mr. Armstrong could have had a hearing before neutral arbitrators to contest USADA’s evidence and sanction and he voluntarily chose not to do so, USADA’s sanction is final.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (http://www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.

Comments

Grateful - 08/25/12 - 4:24pm

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Lance has PROVEN himself, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to be one of the greatest MEN in history. Lance will forever be known as a true champion and tireless humanitarian.

Travis Tygart has PROVEN himself, beyond ALL doubt, to be one of the biggest NOTHINGS in history.

Long after Tygart is totally forgotten, dead and gone, Lance’s NAME and ACHIEVEMENTS will live on, and continue to be admired and celebrated by billions, all over the world.

I almost feel sorry for ol’ TyTy – - What a worthless and pitiful FOOL, that one.

gatouille - 08/25/12 - 4:40pm

One off the biggest bandit of modern world.
For Mr Armstrong and other guy, staff, doctors, cycling is only a business, not a sport.
I’m very happy that he is condemned.

I like cycling and, even if is hard, I will continue to ride with only pure water. I don’t ear money but just enjoyment.

collyer - 08/25/12 - 4:40pm

This statement:

“Numerous witnesses provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong or through Armstrong’s admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005…” , with actual evidence, amounts to hearsay.

When physical evidence of illegal actions taken by LA (if) ever become a reality, then he will have shamed himself beyond recognition. Until then, however, this is the Untied States of America, and according to the Constitution, in American courts, a citizen is innocent until proven guilty.
Now we have a the USADA, acting above & beyond the Untied States Constitution. You & I both pay taxes, so we are paying these people’s salaries. How do you feel about that? I don’t care of LA doped or not, but this is the beginning of the downfall of the US Constitution. Any Americans PO’d about this?

El Xombo - 08/25/12 - 4:47pm

Wow. Now they’ve totally cleaned up cycling and no one else will ever cheat again. Douches.

Nick C - 08/25/12 - 5:21pm

Eff the bozos

Lance pants is still the man!

Jay.T. - 08/25/12 - 5:27pm

Lance Armstrong is a cheater.

Shane - 08/25/12 - 7:29pm

Any word on if UCI plans to uphold this ruling?

If so, then I would like to know how any rider could be safe if all that is needed is the circumstancial testimony of someone!!

off-roadie - 08/25/12 - 7:57pm

@gatouille: You should probably use an electrolyte drink of some sort rather than “pure water”. Its fine, everyone is doing it…

I look forward to seeing what Lance’s next more will be. Pretty curious to see what UCI does, also. I expect this is far from over.

kcr - 08/25/12 - 10:27pm

@collyer Athletes – both amateur and professional – who compete in USACycling events or as USACycling license holders voluntarily subject themselves to anti-doping rules. USADA is the authority charged with upholding the rules – athletes are able to defend themselves in arbitration. I don’t see how USADA’s actions are unconstitutional – a federal judge just ruled that they are. Criminal defendants in many US Jurisdictions are able to enter into a “nolo contendere” plea – which means – I’m not admitting guilt, but I’m not contending the charges. In these cases the defendants are convicted – aka found guilty – without ever being proved guilty. By declining to enter arbitration, Armstrong is doing the same thing.

Armstrong made what is probably the smartest move he can – by not contesting, he can still deny the charges and save face, even though he will be sanctioned. The other option – go to arbitration, where all the evidence would come out would obviously be a black eye to LA.

FWIW, Lance isn’t the only American charged with doping by USADA – the list of sanctioned athletes is quite long: http://www.usada.org/sanctions/ This is just a high profile case. We can blame TT for being overzealous, just like DA’s and county prosecutors are for doing their jobs when local high profile cases occur in our local communities.

Mindless - 08/25/12 - 11:20pm

Travis Tygart is only concerned about making a name for himself and his outfit. He can suck on it.

Jomakira - 08/26/12 - 12:00am

Armstrong perpetrated the biggest sporting fraud in history, willfully taking advantage of his minions and delusional supporters, many of whom have posted supportive comments here. Its sad that his (largely US-based) supporters are so inconvenienced by critical thought. The man has no credibility and anyone with a modicum of analytical skills can that his PR machine is working overtime to counter the inconvenient truth that he is a DOPER.

Steve M - 08/26/12 - 10:51am

Cant we assume that USADA just might have information, witnesses, testimony, and evidence that us average Joe’s can only speculate about? I have to think that if they were being renegade about due process that they would get their asses handed to them in a US court of law had Lance decided to continue?

Lance has certainly not been shy about exploring his legal remedies in the past.

Still a Lance Fan - 08/26/12 - 12:27pm

Not only at this point, but at numerous times in the past I believe it is beyond evident that Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs. However, I feel that this is the tail end of an era in cycling(and to some extent in all sports) in which doping was part of the culture.

Lance may have doped during most or all of his professional races, but especially on the highest level he was competing against people who were also doping. Just look at all of the people who finished close to him in any of these races. The vast majority of them have either been disqualified for testing positive or admitted doping. I still think Lance won his Tours de France fairly because of the doping culture at the time.

This culture of doping is what makes his era so difficult to judge, because I do believe that cycling is cleaner now than it has been since the 80′s, and the end of his dominance in the Tour may have been the beginning of this transition.

I am still a Lance fan because I think the attention he has brought to the sport of cycling in the US over the last 15 years has resulted in a boom in participation in cycling. He has been an inspiration to millions by beating cancer and being the best in the world at the most difficult sport in the world. And even if he doped, he is still one of the most amazing athletes ever.

Robert - 08/26/12 - 1:31pm

@Steve M
the USADA is a self proclaimed nonprofit… unfortunately, it seems to be that the folks working for that non profit are only after money. its simple. athlete has money, and there are people out there that dont like that athlete, that also have money… all they have to do is take money from those who dont like that athlete, and sue that athlete, meanwhile they laugh their way to the bank….

totally unconstitutional.
innocent until proven guilty… unfortunately not in this case

RM - 08/26/12 - 4:17pm

Remember the TDF coverage on TV before Lance turned the TDF into a big deal in North America? It was Lance Armstrong who brought Road racing to the masses and increased the interest in Road cycling 100 fold. If indeed Lance was doping a brief review of his peers shows that many of them were too. USADA takes away his TDF titles but who gets them? Does USADA declare there was no winner of the TDF those years? Maybe append the records with a statement that for a period of years doping in pro cycling was prevalent and get on with the current project of keeping it clean from now on.

Lance may not be a nice or likeable person but he has our unqaulified suport.

TT and many small minded individuals has a passion for finding fault

DaleC - 08/26/12 - 6:58pm

500+ drug test without a failure beats the USADA kangaroo court in a logical mind.

JAL - 08/27/12 - 12:17am

Another witch hunt get over it USADA. Lance won all of the tours regardless of some faceless, bureaucrats penalty years after the fact. Lance should tell them to “see you in court” if they persist. Their own statue of limitations ran out and still went after him. Someone has a big time grudge on Lance. Some people are sore losers or jealous.

Seems to me that for the Tour and other races, a 90 period for any challenge, and results back in 120 days, not years.

T - 08/27/12 - 8:04am

The bigger issue here is not if LA doped. The bigger issue is how the USADA can use the evidence of witnesses to trump testing. Beyond “Why test at all” we get into situations were positive tests could be overturned by the evidence of witnesses. The whole thing is a sham.

What if we were to allow doping in the sport under controlled conditions? We can’t seem to stop it, so we might as well make it safe for the athletes.

real cyclist - 08/30/12 - 3:50pm

Lance, you suck!

Jimmy - 09/03/12 - 4:35pm

If I ever get a chance to ask Lance one question it would be “did you ever take performance enhancing drugs” yes or no, not have you ever been caught, but did you. If he has the balls to answer honestly, we would all know he is a fraud, a cheat and not worthy of being the great individual he has been marketed. Let s make those who are worthy be our hero’s not liers and cheats!.

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