A damning report posted online by the United States Anti-Doping Agency accuses cycling legend Lance Armstrong of being at the center of systematic effort to cheat during all seven of his Tour de France victories.
The 202-page report includes sworn testimony from almost a dozen former cycling teammates who have admitted doping and say that Armstrong did it, too. It details alleged tactics that include having illegal performance enhancing drugs handed off to cyclists from Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service-sponsored team during races.
"[The] doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage."
- U.S. Anti-Doping Agency
"The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding," USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement.
Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman, ripped the report, calling it "a one-sided hatchet job -- a taxpayer-funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories."
Teammates who submitted sworn affidavits and testified against Armstrong included George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Tyler Hamilton. Other teammates who provided information included Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Floyd Landis, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie, the agency said.
In the report, riders claimed, among other instances of alleged doping:
* In the 1999 Tour de France, Armstrong and his team worked to avoid doping control by enlisting a personal assistant whom they called “Motoman.” The drug smuggler was instructed to follow the race on his motorcycle and deliver vials of EPO -- a drug that increases production of red blood cells to give riders more stamina -- to team trainer Jose Marti or other USPS staff.
* After the finish of a stage in the 2004 race, on the way to a hotel, the team’s bus driver faked having engine problems and stopped on the side of a mountain road for an hour. Inside the bus, Armstrong and other riders received blood transfusions.
* Armstrong headed back to the U.S. after his 2005 Tour de France victory - with Team Discovery Channel - without stopping by his apartment in Girona, Spain. Rider George Hincapie was told by Team Director Johan Bruyneel to make sure there were no doping materials left behind.” “Go over to Lance’s apartment to go through the apartment and the closets to make sure that nothing was there,” Bruyneel said.
Tygart said the report will shatter professional cycling's "Code of Silence."
“The USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices,” Tygart said. “A program organized by individuals who thought they were above the rules and who still play a major and active role in sport today.”
Two other members of the USPS team, Dr. Michele Ferrari and Dr. Garcia del Moral, received lifetime bans from cycling for their role in the doping conspiracy.
Johan Bruyneel, the former team director, Marti, the team's trainer and Dr. Pedro Celaya, a team doctor, have protested their charges and will take the case to arbitration, the USADA said.