LANCE Armstrong was a ‘serial cheat’ who was at the centre of ‘the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen’ it has been claimed.
What remained of the Texan cyclist’s reputation lay in tatters after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released the ‘reasoned decision’ behind their move to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles and hand him a lifetime ban.
Eleven of Armstrong’s former team-mates have testified against him.
Armstrong’s lawyer Sean E Breen denounced the USADA action as “a patently unfair, rigged process”.
According to USADA chief executive Travis T Tygart, there was “conclusive and undeniable proof” of a team-run doping conspiracy at Armstrong’s US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team.
The reasoned decision document said: “USADA has found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance Armstrong engaged in serial cheating through the use, administration and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and methods and that Armstrong participated in running in the US Postal Service Team as a doping conspiracy.
“Armstrong and his co-conspirators sought to achieve their ambitions through a massive fraud now more fully exposed. So ends one of the most sordid chapters in sports history.”
The former team-mates who gave evidence against Armstrong were Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.
USADA claimed Armstrong, 41, supplied banned drugs to other riders on the team, pressured them into participating in the doping programme and threatened to get them removed from the team if they refused.
The document said: “His goal (of winning the Tour de France multiple times) led him to depend on EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions but also, more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his team-mates would likewise use drugs to support his goals if not their own.”
It added: “It was not enough that his team-mates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping programme outlined for them or be replaced.
“He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it.