Once a hero known across the world for his return to professional cycling after numerous battles with cancer. His "Livestrong" wristband was worn the world over as a symbol of his spirit. But six weeks after he announced he would not be contesting the charges of doping against him, the full dossier on Armstrong has been released by the US Anti-Doping Agency, here's what you need to know.
1. Armstrong and His Team mates Ran the Most Sophisticated Doping Regime in Sports
That's at least according to the USADA who said as much in a statement this morning. The case is not being taken soley against Armstrong but against all the members of this US Postal Service Cycling Team. The others named in the report 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.
2. Investigators are Hoping This Report Will End Widespread Doping in Cycling
It's no secret that the entire sport of Cycling has been rotten with doping since the year zero. Here's what the report said:
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. 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.
It took tremendous courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully. It is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment. But that is what these riders have done for the good of the sport, and for the young riders who hope to one day reach their dreams without using dangerous drugs or methods."
3. Armstrong has yet to Comment on the Report
Through a spokesman, Armstrong said on Wednesday morning that he wouldn't comment on the report. But he won't be able to get away from it, it's already freely available online. The USADA confirmed that they had earlier sent copies to UCI (the world Cycling body), the World Anti-Doping Agency, as well as the World Triathlon Corporation. Since retiring from cycling, Armstrong has competed in triathlons, something that as well may now be under threat.
4. Armstrong's Former Right-Hand Man George Hincapie Delivered the Most Damning Testimony
Known as Armstrong's lieutenant, Hincapie has been spoken openly about he and his team mates use of banned substances. Saying today:
"Because of my love for the sport, the contributions I feel I have made to it, and the amount the sport of cycling has given to me over the years, it is extremely difficult today to acknowledge that during a part of my career I used banned substances," he said.
"Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them."
Hincapie rode alongside Armstrong on each of his Tour de France victories.
5. Armstrong Had Taken Legal Action Against This "Witch-Hunt"
Prior to the public release of the dossier, Armstrong had his legal team send a letter to the USADA, in which he called the hearings a "taxpayer-funded witch hunt". The cyclist's lawyer, Timothy J Herman, said that believed the USADA had a vendetta against Armstrong. And also that the USADA used unethical measures in which to coerce statements from Armstrong's former team-mates, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.
6. The Report Notes That Armstrong Rejected the Chance to Defend Himself
The USADA makes note of the fact that Armstrong "strategically avoided" the hearing, but that wouldn't stop the publishing of the revelations. That the statements made were published because Armstrong rejected the chance to answer the accusations himself. Armstrong's attorney referred to the witnesses as "serial perjurers".
7. Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, two key witnesses, have previously been banned for doping
Two of Armstrong's main accusers, Landis and Hamilton, have previously had numerous battles with doping charges. This is something Armstrong's legal team sought to highlight in attempts to discredit them.
8. The Report States it's Unbelievable How Often Armstrong Was Doped-Up
But his army of doctors were able to keep it hidden, here's what the report says:
One morning a UCI drug tester appeared and started setting up in the common area. This prompted Dr. Celaya to go outside to the car and retrieve a liter of saline which he put under his rain coat and smuggled right past the UCI tester and into Armstrong’s bedroom. Celaya closed the bedroom door and administered the saline to Armstrong to lower his hematocrit, without alerting the UCI tester to their activities. Vaughters recalled that he and Dr. Celaya later “had a good laugh about how he had been able to smuggle in saline and administer it to Lance essentially under the UCI inspector’s nose.”
9. The Report Shows Statements That Show Armstrong's Dealing With a Banned Doctor
Dr. Michele Ferrari, a doctor who was banned in the world of cycling after numerous brushes with anti-Doping agencies, is shown to have received large sums of money from Armstrong. It also states that Ferrari was nicknamed "Schums" amongst the cyclist after Formula One Team Ferrrari Driver Michael Schumacher. Here's the report again:
The evidence in this case also includes banking and accounting records from a Swiss company controlled by Dr. Ferrari reflecting more than one million dollars in payments by Mr. Armstrong, extensive email communications between Dr. Ferrari and his son and Mr. Armstrong during a time period in which Mr. Armstrong claimed to not have a professional relationship with Dr. Ferrari and a vast amount of additional data, including laboratory test results and expert analysis of Mr. Armstrong’s blood test results.
10. Armstrong Wasn't Just a User, He Was the Organizer
The report makes a specific mention to the fact that it isn't as simple as Armstrong being just another drug-cheat Olympian, he was the chief traffiker of steroids within his team.
Armstrong had ultimate control over not only his own personal drug use, which was extensive, but also over the doping culture of his team. Final responsibility for decisions to hire and retain a director, doctor sand other staff committed to running a team-wide doping program ultimately flowed to him.
The evidence is overwhelming that Lance Armstrong did not just use performance enhancing drugs, he supplied them to his teammates. He did not merely go alone to Dr. Michele Ferrari for doping advice, he expected that others would follow. 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. He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it. Armstrong’s use of drugs was extensive, and the doping program on his team, designed in large part to benefit Armstrong, was massive and pervasive.
Another sad day for cycling.
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