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USADA Decision on Armstrong Released
By Heath Langle
Date: 10/10/2012
USADA Decision on Armstrong Released

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released its "Reasoned Decision" today regarding its investigation into Lance Armstrong's doping practices during his professional cycling career. The 202-page decision details the investigation and the evidence gathered by USADA. Read the USADA Reasoned Decision and Supporting Materials here.

The decision outlines the six charges against Armstrong including; use, or attempted use, of a prohibited substance, trafficking, possession, administration or attempted administration of prohibited substances, assisting and aiding and abetting the use of prohibited substances, and aggravating circumstances. The aggravating circumstances (i.e., conspiracy to cover up a systematic doping scheme) are what USADA used to get beyond its own eight-year statute of limitations for prosecuting doping offenses.

A discussion of the evidence against Armstrong is provided including affidavits from former teammates George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Jonathan Vaughters, Christian Vande Velde, and Dave Zabriskie. The affidavits chronicle each riderís introduction into the doping world and their personal observations and experiences with Armstrong, including his use of banned substances. Zabriskie, known for his jovial antics, provided a tortured account of his decision to take drugs in order to compete professionally.

Additional evidence provided are bank transactions and emails linking Armstrong to Dr. Michele Ferrari. A detailed chronological account of Armstrong's career and doping practices is also provided which includes all seven of Armstrong's Tour de France victories.

The decision is supported by 27 appendices, which contain all the evidence USADA used to make its determination. The evidence is in the form of witness statements, videos, references to books written by or about Armstrong, and deposition testimony from Armstrong and his former agent Bill Stapleton. Some of the statements contain the names of other professional cyclists and other witnesses whose names have been redacted, suggesting more evidence is likely to surface.

USADA stated the core of its case against Armstrong is the witness testimony and documentary evidence, which is "overwhelming proof" of Armstrong's doping. USADA also provides analytical evidence, which it says further supports its proof of Armstrong's doping, including tests conducted by the Australian Institute of Sport regarding Armstrong's blood samples taken during 2009 and 2010, tests conducted by a French laboratory of Armstrong's 1999 urine samples from the Tour de France, and an analysis of Armstrong's 2001 Tour de Swiss sample.

Combined, USADA stated its evidence proves "beyond any doubt" that Armstrong used banned substances and justifies its imposed lifetime ban and disqualification of Armstrong's results from 1998 forward.

Despite the release of such voluminous evidence, a blase Lance Armstrong posted on his Twitter account this evening that he was "unaffected."

The USADA "Reasoned Decision" including its evidence has been forwarded to the UCI which will have 21 days to respond to USADA's decision.

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