THE UNITED STATES Anti-Doping Agency released a statement on Friday announcing their decision to give Lance Armstrong a lifetime ban from the sport of professional cycling and retrospectively strip the American of every title won since August 1, 1998.
USADA say their decision is based on Armstrong’s “anti-doping rule violations stemming from his involvement in the United States Postal Service (USPS) Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy (USPS Conspiracy).”
However, the International Cycling Union (UCI), the sport’s governing body, have been fighting USADA over jurisdiction of the Armstrong case and it remains to be seen if they will accept the American organisation’s decision.
The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) John Fahey, however, gave his backing to USADA:
“He (Armstrong) can say what he likes. The only way we would have known what the substance was of those charges, what the evidence was, was to have the evidence tested and I’m disappointed that won’t occur,” he told ABC radio in Australia.
USADA’s statement further outlines the extent of their case against Armstrong including “numerous witnesses [who] provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong, or through Armstrong’s admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005, and that he had previously used EPO , testosterone and hGH through 1996.”
“Nobody wins when an athlete decides to cheat with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, but clean athletes at every level expect those of us here on their behalf, to pursue the truth to ensure the win-at-all-cost culture does not permanently overtake fair, honest competition” said USADA CEO, Travis T. Tygart in Friday’s statement.
“Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case.”
The statement goes on to say “scientific data showed Mr. Armstrong’s use of blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions during Mr. Armstrong’s comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour de France.”
While there appears to be some confusion over USADA’s right to take these decisions in relation to Armstrong, the organisation is confident it has jurisdiction:
“Because Mr. Armstrong could have had a hearing before neutral arbitrators to contest USADA’s evidence and sanction and he voluntarily chose not to do so, USADA’s sanction is final.”