Armstrong's teammates admit to doping
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong cheated his way to the top through the most sophisticated doping programme ever seen in the sports world, the US Anti-Doping Agency said yesterday.
Evidence linking Armstrong to the use of performance-enhancing drugs included financial payments, e-mails, scientific data, laboratory test results, and testimony from 11 former teammates, the agency said.
After the release of the report, two cyclists who testified against Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong has denied cheating and has never failed a doping test, but was banned for life in August after announcing he would not fight the doping charges.
The agency's report was sent to the International Cycling Union, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the World Triathlon Corporation. It is more than 1000 pages long and contained the sworn testimony of 26 people, including 15 professional riders.
George Hincapie, who rode alongside Armstrong when he won his seven Tour de France titles, admitted cheating and told the agency he was not alone.
Another former Armstrong teammate, Canada's Michael Barry, said: "After being encouraged by the team, pressured to perform and pushed to my physical limits, I crossed a line I promised myself and others I would not. I doped."
Armstrong's lawyers have repeatedly attacked the credibility of agency's case, describing the proceedings as a "kangaroo court" and a "witch hunt".
"This reasoned decision will be a farce . while USADA can put lipstick on a pig, it still remains a pig," said Armstrong's attorney, Timothy Herman.
The agency said: "It took courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully. It is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment."