As a result of fresh charges from USADA effective immediately Lance Armstrong is banned from competing in triathlons. This means his Ironman debut in France on June 24 is in doubt.
The Washington Post’s Amy Shipley reported today that ‘The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency brought formal doping charges against former cyclist Lance Armstrong in an action that could cost him his seven Tour de France titles, according to a letter sent to Armstrong and several others Tuesday.’
In the 15-page charging letter obtained by The Post, USADA made previously unpublicized allegations against Armstrong, alleging it collected blood samples from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 that were â€œfully consistent with blood maÂnipuÂlaÂtion including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.â€ Armstrong has never tested positive.
The letter specifically alleges that â€œmultiple riders with firsthand knowledgeâ€ will testify that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and masking agents, and that he distributed and administered drugs to other cyclists from 1998 to 2005. The letter alleges that numerous witnesses will testify that Armstrong also used human growth hormone before 1996.
These charges mean that Lance Armstrong is banned immediately from taking part in triathlons.
In an official response Armstrong says “These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation.”
Armstrong goes on to say “Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.”
The entire triathlon world has been waiting in anticipation of Lance Armstrong’s Ironman debut as we head towards Kona this October. It was meant to happen in just over a week at Ironman France in Nice.