USADA condemn 'serial cheat' Armstrong

Blackpool Citizen: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the US Anti-Doping Agency Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the US Anti-Doping Agency

Lance Armstrong was a "serial cheat" who led "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen", United States Anti-Doping has said.

What remained of the Texan cyclist's reputation lay in tatters after USADA released their 'reasoned decision' behind their decision to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles and hand him a lifetime ban.

Eleven of Armstrong's former team-mates at his US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team testified against him. According to USADA chief executive Travis T Tygart, there was "conclusive and undeniable proof" of a team-run doping conspiracy.

The reasoned decision document said: "USADA has found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance Armstrong engaged in serial cheating through the use, administration and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and methods that Armstrong participated in running in the US Postal Service Team as a doping conspiracy.

"Armstrong and his co-conspirators sought to achieve their ambitions through a massive fraud now more fully exposed. So ends one of the most sordid chapters in sports history."

The former US Postal Service team-mates who gave evidence against Armstrong were Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

USADA claimed Armstrong, 41, supplied banned drugs to other riders on the team, pressured them into participating in the doping programme and threatened to get them removed from the team if they refused.

The decision said: "His goal (of winning the Tour de France multiple times) led him to depend on EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions but also, more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his team-mates would likewise use drugs to support his goals if not their own."

It added: "It was not enough that his team-mates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping programme outlined for them or be replaced. He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it. Armstrong's use of drugs was extensive, and the doping programme on his team, designed in large part to benefit Armstrong, was massive and pervasive."

Armstrong has repeatedly denied accusations of doping. But in August announced he would not fight the doping charges filed against him by USADA, saying in a statement he was "finished with this nonsense" and insisting he was innocent.

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