The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced stiff sanctions today against the team doctor, the team coach and the team trainer for cyclist Lance Armstrong, saying that they were all involved in a “conspiracy to commit widespread doping” over many years and with many riders.
The decision was rendered by a three-member, independent panel of the American Arbitration Association North American Court of Arbitration for Sport. The full announcement is here.
It imposed a 10-year ban on Johan Bruyneel, the team director, and eight-year bans for the doctor, Pedro Celaya, and the trainer, Jose “Pepe” Martí, as the result of their roles in what the agency called “the USPS Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy.”
Lifetime suspensions had already been imposed against Michele Ferrari, a doctor from Ferrara, Italy, and Luis Garcia del Moral, a physician from València, Spain, for anti-doping rule violations.
The sanctions date from June 2012 when USADA accused Armstrong and his teams of widespread doping after a lengthy investigation.
Armstrong was stripped several weeks later of all his post-August 1998 race results, including all seven Tour de France titles, and banned for life by USADA. Doctors Michele Ferrari and Luis Garcia del Moral also did not challenge USADA’s findings and lifetime bans.
In October 2012, USDA published its detailed verdict with hundreds of pages of evidence documenting the doping conspiracy, including witness statements from several Armstrong teammates.
Today’s action followed long hearings and deliberations.
The finding was toughest against Bruyneel. The agency said:
Bruyneel trafficked in performance-enhancing drugs and was engaged in the allocation of team-related resources … causing a variety of prohibited doping substances and methods to be used expressly for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage for the teams and cyclists he managed in cycling events. … Bruyneel himself profited considerably from the successes of the teams and riders he managed during the relevant period. Bruyneel encouraged athletes to use doping products including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, and cortisone.
The AAA decision will be available on the USADA Web site at http://www.usada.org/arbitration-decisions/.