It seems there’s some substance to the Anti-Doping Agency’s attack on Lance Armstrong — a lot of it. Despite Lance Armstrong’s refusal to stand trial against the charges of doping, for which he said he was not guilty but sick of fighting, the agency produced the evidence anyway, a 202-page report.
The report is full of testimony, interviews, and facts that make a convincing picture not only that Lance doped, but that he bullied his teammates into doing so as well.
In June 2000 Valencia Spain, the United States Postal Service had blood extracted, hanging from plastic bags on the wall, to later get reinfused with more oxygen carrying capacity.
In a race later that year he talked to a teammate about taking testosterone, and when warned that drug-testing officials were at the hotel, he dropped out of the race to avoid detection.
“The U.S.P.S. Team doping conspiracy as 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,” said the Agency. “A program organized by individuals who thought they were above the rules and who still play a major and active role in sport today.” They call Armstrong’s doping the most sophisticated program in sports history.
Other team members involved, who both doped and testified that Armstrong did, include Levi Leipheimer, Tyler Hamilton, and George Hincapie.
“Mr. Armstrong did not act alone,” the Agency said. “He acted with the help of a small army of enablers, including doping doctors, drug smugglers, and others within and outside the sport and on his team.”
This includes doctor Michele Ferrari, who Armstrong continued to work with despite claiming in 2004 to have cut ties. Ferrari taught him and his teammates a series of tricks to avoid detection, such as injecting the EPO, the banned blood booster erythropoietin, directly into their veins instead of under the skin and using hypoxic chambers.
“It was not enough that his teammates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping program outlined for them or be replaced,” the report said. “He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and reinforced it.” The use of banned drugs is documented as being casual and well accepted among members of the team.
For this, Armstrong is being banned for life from Olympic sports and being stripped of his record seven Tour victories.