Lance Armstrong faces sanction from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and has been banned from triathlon competition until the resolution of the investigation. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that USADA has sent the seven-time Tour de France champion and others a 15-page letter outlining the allegations that stem from his run with the U.S. Postal Service and Discovery team between 1998 and 2005, as well as his comeback in 2009-2010.
According to the Post, the action was outlined in a letter sent to Armstrong and several others and could cost the Texan his Tour titles. The Post reported that in the letter, USADA alleged it had collected blood samples from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 that were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”
USADA claims it has witnesses to the fact that Armstrong and five former cycling team associates — including Italian doctor Michele Ferrari and cycling team manager Johan Bruyneel — engaged in a doping conspiracy from 1998-2011.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Armstrong called the allegations baseless and accused USADA of holding a vendetta.
“I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned. These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.
“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.”
USADA officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.
In February, federal prosecutors dropped an investigation into Armstrong and other cyclists without bringing criminal charges. At the time USADA said it continued to investigate allegations of doping in cycling and hoped to have access to the information gathered in the criminal probe.
“Unlike the U.S. Attorney, USADA’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws,” USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in February.”Our investigation into doping in the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation.”
Armstrong had planned on competing in Ironman France on June 24 with the goal of earning points towards his Kona Pro Ranking and qualifying for October’s Ironman World Championship.