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Armstrong attorney hits out at impending report

Tim Herman is unhappy with the file of evidence gathered in a probe of the cyclist.

Armstrong decided in August that he would not request a hearing on the charges against him.
Armstrong decided in August that he would not request a hearing on the charges against him.

BEFORE THE US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has even sent its findings regarding a lifetime doping ban of Lance Armstrong to the International Cycling Union (UCI), the cyclist is attacking the report.

Armstrong lawyer Tim Herman has sent a letter to USADA complaining that they should send their entire file of evidence gathered in a probe of Armstrong to the global cycling governing body rather than simply a limited report.

The letter says the USADA report could package the information to support its findings, which led to Armstrong being banned from cycling for life and the forfeiture of his seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.

Armstrong’s attorney says USADA acted as “prosecutor, judge, jury, appellate court and executioner” in announcing its decision to ban Armstrong, calling its findings a “biased, one-sided and untested version of events.”

USADA is expected to send its report to the UCI this week, including what it says are statements from at least 10 witnesses, some of them former Armstrong teammates, saying they saw Armstrong use performance-enhancing substances.

Armstrong, 41, decided in August that he would not request a hearing on the charges against him, denying any wrongdoing as he has for years but saying he was so weary from fighting such accusations that he didn’t want to do so again.

While a USADA hearing could have exonerated him, it would also have brought out all the details gathered by USADA in a public display, although that would have given Armstrong a forum to challenge the evidence.

Armstrong also protested the USADA arbitration hearing method procedures, citing USADA’s overwhelming record of successful prosecution in such cases. Armstrong lost a US court fight protesting the system just before annoucning he would not fight the charges, thereby bringing down the doping ban.

USADA says it has solid evidence of doping by Armstrong and his US Postal Service team, including blood boosters and steroids.

The team’s former director, Johan Bruyneel, has also been charged in connection with the scheme and faces an arbitration hearing of his own.

Among the witnesses USADA has against Armstrong are admitted US dope cheats Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France crown after testing positive for steroids.

“USADA will no doubt accept the stories told by Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton as gospel,” Herman wrote.

“A reasoned decision would include all prior inconsistent statements by these witnesses.”

The UCI has challenged USADA’s authority to bring charges against Armstrong but the World Anti-Doping Agency backed USADA’s jurisdiction and power to press the case.

The UCI could appeal the sanctions against Armstrong to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

- © AFP, 2012

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