The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has filed formal doping charges against Lance Armstrong, claiming the 7-time Tour de France champion used performance enhancing drugs as far back as 1998.
A three-person USADA review panel unanimously recommended filing formal charges after reviewing the evidence. In a letter sent on Thursday to Armstrong, former team director Johan Bruyneel, team doctors Pedro Celaya Lezama and Luis Garcia del Moral, team trainer Pepe Marti and doctor Michele Ferrari were formally charged, stating that they have “been part of a doping conspiracy involving team officials, employees, doctors and elite cyclists.”
Specifically, Armstrong is accused of “using, possessing and trafficking banned substances including the blood-booster EPO, blood transfusions and steroids.”
From here, the case will likely move to an arbitration panel where all evidence will be presented along with expert testimony and the defendants may challenge the decision. They have until July 9 to decide to challenge. The USADA has said it has at least 10 of Armstrong’s former teammates and associates that will testify against him, and that they have blood samples from 2009 and 2010 that are consistent with blood doping.
In a Yahoo Sports article, Robert Luskin, Armstrong’s attorney, calls the charges “wrong and baseless. It is the entirely predictable product of USADA’s toxic obsession with Lance Armstrong and a process in which truth is not a priority. There is not one shred of credible evidence to support USADA’s charges and an unbroken record of more than 500 clean tests over more than a decade and a half to refute it.”