By Annie Kinny and Matt Burgess, Director.
See our initial Blog article by clicking here.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has banned Armstrong from cycling for life and erased him from every race in which he had competed since 1998. Despite the fact that Armstrong has never failed a blood or urine test, he has given up his fight in contesting the charges laid against by the USADA. ‘There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough” For me, that time is now,’ Armstrong stated. Armstrong has expressed concern over the validity of drug tests if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it. Armstrong’s refusal to challenge the USADA at this point, has saved him from the drawn-out embarrassment of a public hearing. It also allowed him to maintain his innocence even as he publicly quit the fight.
➢ On the 12th of June, 2012, the USADA issued Mr Armstrong and five other individuals, including the USPS team director, team trainer and three team doctors, a notice letter of USADA’s intent to open proceedings against them.
➢ On the 28th of June, 2012, the USADA issued a notice letter to inform Armstrong and the other five individuals that, the independent review panel’s finding confirmed sufficient and overwhelming evidence, and that the USADA was charging them with rule violations.
➢ On August 20, 2012, Armstrong commenced an action in the Federal Court in Austin, Texas, challenging the jurisdiction of the USADA to test in international races. Armstrong’s lawyers attached a letter from Stephen Hess, a lawyer from USA Cycling, which asserted that, “USAC believes that UCI has the power to express its interpretation of WADA’s anti-doping code”. However, Armstrong’s lawsuit and was dismissed and Armstrong had until midnight on Thursday, August 23, to contest the evidence against him in a full evidentiary hearing with neutral arbitrators as provided by US law.
➢ This was the avenue was not pursued.
The evidence against him was pieced together by USADA, following on from a US federal investigation. Several former team-mates, including proven dope cheats Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, gave evidence. Numerous witnesses provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong, or through Armstrong’s admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005, and that he had previously used EPO, testosterone and hGH through 1996. Witnesses also provided evidence that Lance Armstrong gave to them, encouraged them to use and administered doping products or methods, including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from 1999 through 2005. Additionally, scientific data showed Armstrong’s use of blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions during Armstrong’s comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour de France.
What has Lance been charged with?
USADA’s statement read: ‘The anti-doping rule violations for which Mr Armstrong is being sanctioned are:
1) Use and/or attempted use of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.
2) Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.
3) Trafficking of EPO, tes-tosterone, and corticosteroids.
4) Administration and/or attempted administration to others of EPO, testosterone, and cortisone.
5) Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.’
What did his refusal to fight mean?
Of course, you could read it as he stated, but that would be no fun. Armstrong’s refusal to challenge the decision can be viewed as an intelligent business move in order to protect the reputation of his charity, which has raised over $400 million for cancer since 1997. His refusal to challenge the decision can also be viewed as ‘taking one for the team’ and protecting the integrity of the sport, despite his questions of the USADA’s authority. However, the USADA has been warned that any claims that Armstrong’s refusal to challenge, is an admission of guilt, may result in Armstrong suing the body for libel.
Never the less, Armstrong’s charity, Livestrong, has survived the furore and has become a strong indication of the support Armstrong has within the community and the corporate world. On Friday, the 24th of August, the charity received donations at an increase of 770 per cent from the previous day. Armstrong’s two main sponsors, Anheuser-Busch and Nike, have also stood by the cyclist.
Is this over?
Not yet… The International Cycling Union (ICU) has asserted it has jurisdiction in the matter, saying USADA had no basis to get involved. The USADA says its authority stems from the World Anti-Doping Agency, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. If Armstrong disputes the process, he can bring a case in an American Arbitration Association process and then potentially appeal an arbitration decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Cycling’s governing body, UCI could also challenge the action at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland.
The outcome of the saga creates more questions than it answers. The fact that the evidence was not canvassed in court leaves a large question mark over the validity of the evidence and whether it is ‘determinative of guilt’ as the USADA claimed? Where the evidence was inadequate or insufficient to be ‘determinative of guilt’, the authority and the integrity of the USADA would be undermined.
Could a UCI appeal bring Armstrong back into it and expose the cyclist?
Without Armstrong’s personal appeal, we doubt any further details will be released on what evidence they have but if UCI get their teeth into the matter, there may still be some legs left in this race.
This blog is for discussion purposes only. This must not be considered legal advice.
For legal advice on this topic and references to any information in this article, please contact
Matt Burgess, Director:
Phone: +61 405 722 739
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Image Credit: Rasmus Thomsen
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