The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released its dossier on Lance Armstrong today.
Today, we are sending the ‘Reasoned Decision’ in the Lance Armstrong case and supporting information to the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.One could have ancipated that they had put together a strong case. Afterall, Armstrong - a famously proud man - announced in August that he wasn't going to fight the charges that the ADA were preparing against him, and was banned from cycling for life and had all of his results since 1998 stripped from him - that includes all seven of his Tour de France victories.
Even so, the report is astonishing. It runs for more than 1,000 pages. I haven't read them all, but the sports journalists at The Guardian have been burrowing in all day, and live-blogging the most interesting nuggets they find.
The full report includes the testimony of 26 people, including 11 former US Postal Service teammates of Armstrong. Over and over again these men describe the doping practices that they say fueled Armstrong's unprecedented success as well as the conspiracy necessary to keep the true story underwraps.
The most devastating element of the report will likely be the section focusing on George Hincapie:
Hincapie has testified that he was aware of Armstrong’s use of EPO and blood transfusions.Joe Lindsey explains at bicycling.com why the Hincapie testimony is so devastating:
He reports that Armstrong even provided EPO to Hincapie for Hincapie’s own use.
Hincapie explains how he, like Armstrong, was a client of the doping doctor Michele Ferrari who incorporated EPO and blood doping into Hincapie’s training program.
And, Hincapie admits that he participated in the USPS/Discovery Channel blood doping program. A close friend of Armstrong and a key member of his team, Hincapie was in a position to know a great deal about what Armstrong was doing throughout the period from 1994 through 2005. As Armstrong wrote: “There have been times when I’ve practically lived out of the same suitcase with George Hincapie. In cycling we’re on the side of a mountain for weeks, in small hotel rooms, sharing every ache, and pain, and meal. You get to know everything about each other, including things you’d rather not.”
As indicated in his affidavit, Hincapie remains loyal to Armstrong. While Hincapie felt compelled to tell the truth to USADA, it was clear in discussion with him that he had no axe to grind and still thought highly of Armstrong’s abilities as a cyclist and ability to overcome adversity.
However, what Hincapie also knew about Armstrong and what he has testified to inintimate detail is Armstrong’s immersion in the doping culture on the USPS/Discovery Channel teams. Hincapie had no doubt that Armstrong doped and therefore no one else should either.
Armstrong has attacked other former teammates and associates who’ve accused him of doping, with claims that they are lying because they are jealous of his success, or are trying to make money. But Hincapie will not be as easy to refute or discredit.In addition to the testimony of the riders, there is also evidence in report of banking records showing more than one million dollars in payments from Armstron to Dr. Michele Reffari, an Italian doctor now banned from cycling for life for doping.
Unlike Landis and Hamilton, Hincapie has never tested positive or reversed his story. He retired from pro racing in August after a 19-year professional career that saw him become one of the most respected cyclists in the peloton, and equally beloved by fans. ...
Hincapie’s friendship with Armstrong, his reputation among his peers and fans, and his reticence up to now in discussing what he had told investigators—or even admitting that he had spoken with them at all—make his most recent statements that much more damaging to his friend and former teammate.