Lance Armstrong during the 2009 Tour de California. (Mario Jose Sanchez / Associated…)
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is back in the spotlight after the Washington Post reported Wednesday that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has brought formal doping charges against him that could result in him being stripped of his Tour de France titles.
Armstrong has also been immediately banned from competing in triathlons, a sport he recently took up professionally.
In the 15-page charging letter obtained by the Post, USADA says it collected blood from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 that was "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions."
Armstrong responded Wednesday by saying, "I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence. Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me."
According to the Post, USADA’s letter alleges that "multiple riders with firsthand knowledge" 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.
In February, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles ended a two-year investigation into doping allegations involving Armstrong without bringing criminal charges.
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