Cycling: Lance Armstrong - the verdict

US doping body releases extensive evidence of seven-time Tour winner's 'sordid' conspiracy

The jaw-dropping scale of the doping programme in which Lance Armstrong played a leading role was revealed last night when the US 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 says it shows beyond doubt that Armstrong's US Postal team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

Usada delivered the long-awaited evidence "of one of the most sordid chapters in sports history" to cycling's governing body, the UCI, and released 200 pages of its "Reasoned decision" – the rest is withheld while three former US Postal team officials contest the charges. It details a widespread doping programme, describing the case as stronger than any assembled by the agency in its 12-year history.

In all, it lists 15 riders who testified against Armstrong, including the former Sky domestique Michael Barry and George Hincapie, who was Armstrong's right-hand man for his seven Tour de France titles.

Usada's chief executive, Travis Tygart, said the evidence proves "the use, possession and distribution of performance-enhancing drugs by Armstrong"; that it "reveals conclusive and undeniable proof that brings to light for the first time this systemic, sustained and highly professionalised team-run doping conspiracy"; that "the USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy. A programme organised by individuals who thought they were above the rules".

The report states that Armstrong's career at US Postal, which he joined in 1998 after recovering from cancer, "was fuelled from start to finish by doping". It adds of the role Armstrong played: "He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it."

Barry, who joined Sky when the team was set up in 2009, retired at the end of this season. The Canadian arrived at US Postal in 2002 and doped until 2006, and last night he issued an apology: "Doping [in 2002] had become an epidemic problem in professional cycling. After being encouraged by the team [and] pressured to perform… I crossed a line I promised myself and others I would not: I doped. It was a decision I deeply regret.

"From 2006 until the end of my career, I chose to race for teams that took a strong stance against doping. Although I never confessed to my past, I wrote and spoke about the need for change. Cycling is now a cleaner sport. I apologise to those I deceived."

A spokesperson for Team Sky said: "We have no doubts about Michael being clean during his time at Team Sky." The team was unaware of Barry's testimony to Usada – and his chequered past – until this week.


Get Adobe Flash player


Hincapie also apologised. He too said he had stopped doping in 2006 having been driven to it in the first place because of the "widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs". He said: "I would have been much more comfortable talking only about myself, but understood that I was obligated to tell the truth about everything I knew. So that is what I did."

Armstrong has always denied doping but in August he announced he would not be contesting Usada's charges. Usada banned him for life. Now it paints Armstrong as the ring leader who intimidated others. Usada initially protected the identities of the riders who gave evidence amid fears they may face retaliation. The 11 team-mates were named: Frankie Andreu, Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

Tygart applauded the "courage" of those who testified against Armstrong. He added: "Lance Armstrong was given the same opportunity to come forward and be part of the solution. He rejected it." Two other members of the team, Dr Michele Ferrari and Dr Garcia del Moral, also received lifetime bans. Three more, Johan Bruyneel, a team doctor Dr Pedro Celaya and team trainer Jose Marti are contesting the charges.

The report alleges that Bruyneel, formerly US Postal's team director, now with RadioShack-Nissan, "learned how to introduce young men to performance enhancing drugs, becoming adept at leading them down the path." It also claims Bruyneel appeared to have "inside information" about the testing.

peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
New Articles
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all