Armstrong confronted with legal charges by US drug authorities

 

The United States Anti-Doping Agency have initiated legal proceedings over allegations of doping against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

The USADA revealed it had sent Armstrong written notification  regarding “allegations of anti-doping rule violations” during his time with the United States Postal Service (USPS) cycling team.

The USADA confirmation came hours after Armstrong, 40, had released a statement of his own to angrily deny the claims, which, if proved, could see him stripped of the Tour titles he won while with USPS.“I have been notified that USADA, an organisation largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned,” Armstrong said.

Meanwhile, David Millar has become the first athlete to benefit from the rescinding of the British Olympic Association’s bye-law barring anyone who has served a ban for doping from competing in the Games. Millar was yesterday named in the 18-strong cycling team for next month’s Olympics.

The Scot, 35, served a two-year suspension after admitting using the blood booster EPO in 2004, but the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in April to declare the British Olympic ban invalid cleared the way for his return. He could well be followed into Team GB by Dwain Chambers – the athletics team is announced at the start of next month.

Millar, who has become a vocal anti-doping campaigner, was named as part of an eight-man squad for the road race which will be cut to five before the Games. Millar was part of the team that helped Mark Cavendish win the world championship in Copenhagen last year and is likely to be among the Olympic quintet. A decision will be made on 29 June. He will not though win a medal as only the team leader, Cavendish, is so rewarded for a podium finish.

Sir Chris Hoy, who has been  selected for a fourth Games, supported Millar’s selection. He said: “I’m comfortable with whoever is selected for the team because they are eligible. It’s never been about an individual.”

The only surprise in the British team named in Manchester yesterday saw 19-year-old Philip Hindes, who was born in Germany but qualifies through his British father,  chosen in the sprint squad alongside Hoy.

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