The more than 1,000-page dossier, which was prepared for the sport’s international governing body, portrays Armstrong as a serial cheater and a vengeful, venal human being. Having stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France titles and banished him from competitive cycling in August, USADA, through the report, now stands to erode Armstrong’s remaining appeal to the corporate sponsors that have supported him and the cancer foundation that bears his name.
For all of its heft, however, the document does not contain unassailable proof of a single positive drug test. And throughout years-old claims that his athletic triumphs were tainted has been the basis of Armstrong’s defense: that he has never failed a drug test.
Armstrong’s lawyer Timothy Herman countered Wednesday with a statement attacking the report as “a one-sided hatchet job . . . rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories.”
While allegations that Armstrong doped his way to victory are hardly new, three aspects of USADA’s report are revelatory: the widening circle of teammates and associates coming forward with first-hand accounts of his use of EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions; detailed accusations that he insisted key USPS teammates, who were essential to his Tour de France victories, take part in what’s portrayed as a highly sophisticated doping program; and testimony that Armstrong threatened those in position to expose or testify against him.
USADA’s raft of documents, which it labeled as its “reasoned decision,” was sent to the International Cycling Union (UCI), World Anti-Doping Agency and the World Triathlon Corporation detailing the evidence on which it stripped Armstrong of his cycling titles from 1998 on and banned him from the sport after he refused in August to engage in arbitration.
In addition to the testimony of 26 people, the report includes financial payments, e-mails, scientific data and laboratory test results that Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA, said amounted to “conclusive and undeniable proof that” Armstrong, the USPS team’s star rider, used, possessed and distributed performance-enhancing drugs.
Within hours of the report’s release, cyclist George Hincapie, a longtime friend and teammate of Armstrong’s, posted a statement on his Web site admitting that he, too, doped as a member of the USPS team. Hincapie was among those whom USADA says testified about his first-hand knowledge of Armstrong’s doping practices.