Cycling: Armstrong slams witnesses in latest doping charges

Lance Armstrong. Photo / AAP.
Lance Armstrong. Photo / AAP.

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong confirmed yesterday that he was facing new doping allegations brought by the United States Anti-doping Agency that could result him being stripped of his titles.

Armstrong - who has always denied using performance-enhancing drugs during his career - angrily said the new charges stemmed from "discredited" allegations from the past.

He slammed the agency as "largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed by largely self-written rules".

It was reported that the agency had written to Armstrong saying blood samples taken from him in 2009 and 2010 - when he came out of retirement - were "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO [hormone] use and/or blood transfusions".

Armstrong came third in the Tour de France in 2009 and 23rd in 2010. Since retiring again from cycling last year, he has taken up triathlons but the agency's action immediately bans him from competing.

Agency chief executive Travis Tygart confirmed the allegations, saying there were witnesses to the fact that Armstrong and five former cycling team associates - including Italian doctor Michele Ferrari and cycling team manager Johan Bruyneel - engaged in a doping conspiracy from 1998 to 2011.

Armstrong said the witnesses were the same ones who gave evidence during a two-year probe that ended in February with no criminal charges.

Tygart said that if the case continued an "independent panel of arbitrators" would determine Armstrong's guilt, not the agency.

Armstrong, Tour de France winner from 1999 to 2005, has never tested positive but was accused by old teammates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, both admitted drug cheats, of doping. AAP, AFP

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