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Lance Armstrong: Usada Reveals Doping Claims
Eleven of Lance Armstrong's former teammates have provided a catalogue of damning evidence against him in the US Anti-Doping Agency's investigation of the cyclist.
The agency said the testimony - in a report made public for the first time - had exposed "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".
"He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it," the report said.
Armstrong dropped his fight against the charges in August, a move that was expected to mean he would avoid facing his former colleagues' testimony in court.
But details of the allegations now been made public anyway, with USADA publishing the reasoning behind its decision to hand the cyclist a lifetime suspension and erase his seven Tour de France titles.
The document said: "USADA has found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance Armstrong engaged in serial cheating through the use, administration and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and methods that Armstrong participated in running in the US Postal Service Team as a doping conspiracy.
"Armstrong and his co-conspirators sought to achieve their ambitions through a massive fraud now more fully exposed. So ends one of the most sordid chapters in sports history."
The 1,000 pages of evidence features evidence from 11 of Armstrong's former teammates, including George Hincapie, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.
USADA claimed Armstrong, 41, supplied banned drugs to other riders on the team, pressured them into participating in the doping programme and threatened to get them removed from the team if they refused.
The decision said: "His goal (of winning the Tour de France multiple times) led him to depend on EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions but also, more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his team-mates would likewise use drugs to support his goals if not their own.
"It was not enough that his team-mates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping programme outlined for them or be replaced.
"He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it. Armstrong's use of drugs was extensive, and the doping programme on his team, designed in large part to benefit Armstrong, was massive and pervasive."
In delivering the report to the International Cycling Union, the agency's chief executive, Travis Tygart, called for the federation to create a meaningful programme to help clean up the sport.
He said the evidence showed the code of silence that previously dominated cycling has been shattered.
Mr Tygart added that evidence from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service (USPS) team's doping activities, provided testimony for the report. Armstrong won all but one of his Tour titles from 1999-2005 with the USPS team.
Other cyclists named in the news release were Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Levi Leiphimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.
Mr Tygart said: "I have personally talked with and heard these athletes' stories and firmly believe that, collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they ever did on a bike."
In a statement issued to the New York Times, one of Armstrong's lawyers, Timothy Herman, said: "(The report) will be a one-sided hatchet job - a taxpayer-funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories."
His lawyer had previously dismissed any evidence provided by Landis and Hamilton, calling them "serial perjurers" and claiming they had "told diametrically contradictory stories under oath".
But Hincapie's role in the investigation could be more damaging, as he was one of Armstrong's closest and most loyal teammates through the years.
Hincapie admitted in a statement released in the wake of the USADA news release that he took performance-enhancing drugs.
"It's extremely difficult today to acknowledge that during a part of my career I used banned substances," he said.
"Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them.
"I deeply regret that choice and sincerely apologise to my family, teammates and fans."
All seven of Armstrong's Tour victories came after he survived stage three testicular cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 1996.
He went on to form the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997, to help people affected by cancer, and raised £203m through the sale of yellow 'Livestrong' bracelets.