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26 testify against Lance Armstrong in doping case

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10 2012 11:46 p.m. MDT

Lance Armstrong (Associated Press) Lance Armstrong (Associated Press)

Lance Armstrong said he wanted to see the names of his accusers. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency gave him 26, including 11 former teammates.

The world's most famous cyclist said he wanted to see the hard evidence that he was a doper. The agency gave him that, too: About 200 pages filled with vivid details — from the hotel rooms riders transformed into makeshift blood-transfusion centers to the way Armstrong's former wife rolled cortisone pills into foil and handed them out to all the cyclists.

In all, a USADA report released Wednesday gives the most detailed, unflinching portrayal yet of Armstrong as a man who, day after day, week after week, year after year, spared no expense — financially, emotionally or physically — to win the seven Tour de France titles that the anti-doping agency has ordered taken away.

It presents as matter-of-fact reality that winning and doping went hand-in-hand in cycling and that Armstrong was the focal point of a big operation, running teams that were the best at getting it done without getting caught. Armstrong won the Tour as leader of the U.S. Postal Service team from 1999-2004 and again in 2005 with the Discovery Channel as the primary sponsor.

FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2012, file photo, Lance Armstrong considers a question from a reporter after his second-place finish in the Power of Four mountain bicycle race at the base of Aspen Mountain in Aspen, Colo. The United States Anti-Doping Agency is set to send a report detailing its ?reasoned decision? to order the results from 14 years of Armstrong?s career erased, including his seven Tour de France titles, and ban him from cycling for life because of the doping case against him to the International Cycling Union, the sport?s governing body. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) (Associated Press) FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2012, file photo, Lance Armstrong considers a question from a reporter after his second-place finish in the Power of Four mountain bicycle race at the base of Aspen Mountain in Aspen, Colo. The United States Anti-Doping Agency is set to send a report detailing its ?reasoned decision? to order the results from 14 years of Armstrong?s career erased, including his seven Tour de France titles, and ban him from cycling for life because of the doping case against him to the International Cycling Union, the sport?s governing body. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) (Associated Press)

USADA said the path Armstrong chose to pursue his goals "ran far outside the rules."

It accuses him of depending on performance-enhancing drugs to fuel his victories and "more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his teammates" do the same. Among the 11 former teammates who testified against Armstrong are George Hincapie, Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis.

USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart said the cyclists were part of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

Armstrong did not fight the USADA charges, but insists he never cheated.

His attorney, Tim Herman, called the report "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."

FILE - This March 21, 2009 file photo shows Lance Armstrong, of the United States, beside fellow countryman George Hincapie, left, during the Milan-San Remo cycling classic?in San Remo, Italy. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says 11 of Lance Armstrong's former teammates testified against him in its investigation of the cyclist, revealing FILE - This March 21, 2009 file photo shows Lance Armstrong, of the United States, beside fellow countryman George Hincapie, left, during the Milan-San Remo cycling classic?in San Remo, Italy. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says 11 of Lance Armstrong's former teammates testified against him in its investigation of the cyclist, revealing "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati) (Associated Press)

Aware of the criticism his agency has faced from Armstrong and his legion of followers, Tygart insisted his group handled this case under the same rules as any other. Armstrong was given the chance to take his case to arbitration and declined, choosing in August to accept the sanctions instead, he noted.

"We focused solely on finding the truth without being influenced by celebrity or non-celebrity, threats, personal attacks or political pressure because that is what clean athletes deserve and demand," Tygart said.

The report called the evidence "as strong or stronger than any case brought in USADA's 12 years of existence."

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