Here we go again…
The USADA has once again brought charges against seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. He has been revoked from competing in any triathlons due to the new charges, a sport he took up when retiring from cycling.
The letter received from the USADA states that blood samples taken from Armstrong in 2009-2010 were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.” From the article by the Washington Post:
USADA’s letter, dated June 12, alleges that Armstrong and five former cycling team associates — three doctors including Italian physician Michele Ferrari, one trainer and team manager Johan Bruyneel— engaged in a massive doping conspiracy from 1998 to 2011, and that “the witnesses to the conduct described in this letter include more than ten (10) cyclists. . .”
All of the six, including trainer Jose Pepi Marti of Switzerland and doctors Pedro Celaya of Luxembourg and Luis Garcia del Moral of Spain, face competition bans. USADA put all of the alleged violations in one letter, it stated, because it considers the six defendents part of a “long running doping conspiracy.”
The letter specifically alleges that “multiple riders with firsthand knowledge” will testify that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and masking agents, and that he distributed and administered drugs to other cyclists from 1998 to 2005. The letter alleges that numerous witnesses will testify that Armstrong also used human growth hormone before 1996.
In a statement that Armstrong released on Tuesday, he is still claiming that he has never used performance enhancing drugs. He was scheduled to compete in an Iron Man Triathlon in France in a couple weeks.
If it was the first time Armstrong has been accused of “riding dirty”, he may have a shot of clearing his name. His name has come up repeatedly and this time, I don’t think he is going to find a way out of this one. It’s sad that one of the best in the sport and not to mention a role-model to many, tarnishes his own legacy.