Cycling icon Lance Armstrong, seen here speaking to the crowd prior to a run with his fans at Mount Royal park August in Montreal, had 11 of his teammates testifying to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he used performance enhancing drugs, according to a 1,000-page report released by the agency Wednesday (Photo : Reuters)
Cycling legend Lance Armstrong's teammates say that not only did he use performance enhancing substances, but he actually pushed his teammates to do the same, a new 1,000-page report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency states.
The report, released Wednesday, gives damning testimonies and details from at least 26 people, including 11 of Armstrong's former teammates from the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, testifying that Armstrong-who won seven coveted Tour de France crowns-had used, possessed and distributed performance boosting drugs.
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The eleven testifying members of the US taxpayer-funded USPS team, named in a statement released by USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart on Wednesday, are Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.
Armstrong, 41, was first accused of doping in August by the agency, who later banned Armstrong for life from professional competition and disqualified all seven of his Tour de France wins. That same month, Armstrong dropped his appeal against the findings.
According to the USADA , recognized by the U.S. Congress as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sport in the U.S., the report's findings-which included eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence-revealed the "undeniable proof that brings to the light of day for the first time this systemic, sustained and highly professionalized team-run doping conspiracy."
"The evidence demonstrates that the 'Code of Silence' of performance enhancing drug use in the sport of cycling has been shattered, but there is more to do," Tygart said, who called the doping program involving Armstrong's team the most sophisticated such program in the sport's history. "From day one, we always hoped this investigation would bring to a close this troubling chapter in cycling's history and we hope the sport will use this tragedy to prevent it from ever happening again."
The New York Times writes that, according to the agency's investigation, more than $1 million in payments was made by Armstrong to Dr. Michele Ferrari, a consulting physician to him and some of his cycling teammates, and their professional relationship "continued even into preparation for Armstrong's new career in triathlon."
The cycling star's attorney, Tim Herman, called the report "a one-sided hatchet job - a taxpayer funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories," in an Associated Press story.
Still, Armstrong has some support in the cycling community. As reported by ESPN Thursday, Samuel Sanchez, the 2008 Olympic road race champion, said "until the contrary is proved, he remains innocent."
"Our relationship with Lance remains to be around his philanthropic work and the fight against cancer," said Brock Yetso, the president and chief executive of the Ulman Cancer Fund, which oversaw Maryland's Half Full Triathlon, won by Armstrong told the New York Times on Sunday. "The response was overwhelming. We're big believers in Lance and that was only reinforced this weekend."
Armstrong, who has long denied allegations that he has used performance-enhancing drugs, issued a brief comment on the report Wednesday via his Twitter page.
"What am I doing tonight? Hanging with my family, unaffected, and thinking about this," he tweeted, ending with the hashtag, #onward.