The Sports Matrix: Thursday 11 October 2012


Usada reveals its 'conclusive' verdict on Armstrong case

The sheer scale of the doping programme in which Lance Armstrong played a leading role was revealed last night when the United States Anti-Doping Agency published the first batch of what will run to 1,000 pages of evidence, including testimony from 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates.

The agency said it shows beyond doubt that Armstrong's US Postal team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised, successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

Usada yesterday delivered the long-awaited evidence to cycling's governing body, the UCI, and released 200 pages on its website – the rest is being withheld for the time being as three former US Postal team officials are contesting the charges.

It details a doping programme that ran across the team and lists 15 riders who testified against Armstrong, including the former Sky domestique Michael Barry and George Hincapie, above, Armstrong's right-hand man for his seven Tour de France wins. MORE

Vieira questions players' motives

Patrick Vieira yesterday suggested that young English footballers no longer dream of playing for their national team. "I don't think the young players are dreaming of playing for England," he said. Michael Owen was quick to reject the Frenchman's suggestion. MORE

San Marino match a Wembley sell-out

Despite facing San Marino, the joint-worst team in the world according to the Fifa rankings, England's World Cup qualifier tomorrow night at Wembley has sold out. "It is a great tribute to the magnificent support the team enjoys," England manager Roy Hodgson said.

Lampard the only doubt for England

Frank Lampard is Roy Hodgson's only injury doubt for the San Marino match, as the manager ponders using Wayne Rooney in the midfield role he has played for Manchester United of late. Lampard, who is nursing a knee injury, played a small part in training. MORE

Guardiola linked with Milan post

Pep Guardiola has been offered a four-year contract worth around £25m by Milan, according to reports in Italy. The former Barcelona head coach is taking a break from football, but is expected to be back on the touchline for the start of the 2013-14 season. MORE

Broad: No contact from KP for months

Stuart Broad yesterday revealed he has not spoken to Kevin Pietersen since August. Broad, the England Twenty20 captain, said he hasn't had contact with his former team-mate since the Test match against South Africa at Headingley. MORE

McIlroy must beat Woods in Turkey

With thunderstorms stopping play yesterday, Rory McIlroy will take on Tiger Woods in their final group match of the World Golf Final today, knowing that only a win will take him through to the semi-finals, depending on their aggregate scores. MORE

Heineken Cup kicks off under a cloud

The Heineken Cup returns tomorrow, with Ospreys against Treviso, and Ulster versus Castres. But because of a dispute over TV rights, this could be the penultimate time the competition remains in its current guise. MORE

McLaren ready for Red Bull challenge

McLaren's team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, is confident they can respond to Red Bull's step forward in pace at this weekend's Korean Grand Prix. "Red Bull look strong, that is the challenge for us," Whitmarsh said. MORE

Spanish game 'free of racism' claim

The president of Spain's football association, Angel Villa Llona, a member of Fifa and Uefa's executive committees, has claimed racism “does not exist” in the Spanish game despite numerous recent incidents. MORE

Kevin Garside

The case for Darren Clarke to assume Ryder Cup captaincy in January is irresistible. It is not that the other candidates do not offer worthy credentials, only that they are not as compelling as his. MORE