Armstrong Renews Criticism Of USADA
AUSTIN (AP) – With U.S. anti-doping officials set to issue their report on the Lance Armstrong case, a lawyer for the cyclist on Tuesday again criticized the process which led to Armstrong being banned from the sport for life.
In a five-page letter to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong attorney Tim Herman said the agency should send the International Cycling Union its entire evidence file in the Armstrong case, not just a limited report packaged to support the sanctions.
USADA officials have said they expect to send their “reasoned decision” report to UCI this week.
“The rules require us to provide a reasoned decision in every case and we are happy to let the evidence speak for itself,” USADA spokesperson Annie Skinner said.
Herman’s letter accused USADA of acting as “prosecutor, judge, jury, appellate court and executioner” in issuing a “biased, one-sided and untested version of events.”
Armstrong, who insists he never cheated and points to hundreds of passed drug tests, could have challenged the evidence in a USADA arbitration hearing. But after he lost a federal lawsuit to block USADA’s case, Armstrong announced Aug. 23 he would longer fight doping allegations that dogged most of his career.
The 41-year-old Armstrong retired in 2011. Armstrong won the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005, but USADA said those victories are now erased when it banned him.
USADA says it has strong evidence of drug use by Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service teams, including steroids, blood boosters and other blood-doping techniques. The agency says as many as 10 former teammates were willing to testify against him.
Also charged and awaiting an arbitration hearing are former team director Johan Bruyneel and a member of the team’s medical staff.
Among the witnesses against Armstrong are Floyd Landis, whose 2006 Tour de France title was stripped after he was caught using steroids, and Tyler Hamilton, who also was caught doping in his career. Hamilton recently wrote a book detailing his drug use and allegations that Armstrong took steroids and blood boosters when they were teammates.
“USADA will no doubt accept the stories told by Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton as gospel,” Herman wrote, adding “A `reasoned decision’ would include all prior inconsistent statements by these witnesses.”
Herman’s letter also recounted part of Armstrong’s lawsuit that was dismissed by a federal judge in August — that USADA did not have jurisdiction to pursue the case and that it violated its own 8-year statute of limitations.
The letter also noted that the law firm hired by USADA has also done work for tobacco companies, which have fought against anti-smoking legislation that Armstrong has supported in several states, most recently in California.
The Armstrong case has caused a tug of war in the sport. The International Cycling Union challenged USADA’s authority to bring the case against Armstrong. The World Anti-Doping Agency has supported USADA’s authority in the case.
After receiving the report, the UCI could appeal the sanctions against Armstrong to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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