Armstrong banned from Ironman’s Nice leg: Organisers | other | Hindustan Times
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Armstrong banned from Ironman’s Nice leg: Organisers

other Updated: Jun 15, 2012 02:32 IST

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Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong will be denied entry to the Nice leg of the Ironman series due to an ongoing doping investigation, the event organisers said on Thursday. Armstrong, whose career has been dogged by unfounded allegations of doping, is the subject of fresh allegations by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which could lead to the stripping of his titles.

Organisers of the Nice Ironman, to be held June 24, said through spokeswoman Delphine Vivet: “The rules governing the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) state that no athletes under investigation can participate in the event.”

The USADA brought formal doping charges against Armstrong in an action that could cost him his Tour de France titles, according to a letter sent to him and several others on Tuesday.

In the 15-page charging letter obtained by The Post, USADA made previously unpublicised allegations against Armstrong, alleging it collected blood samples from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 that were "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions." Armstrong has never tested positive.

Two-year probe
In February, the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles ended a nearly two-year investigation into doping allegations involving Armstrong without bringing criminal charges. Armstrong’s former teammates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton cooperated with federal agents in that investigation and publicly accused Armstrong of doping.

USADA is the agency that oversees anti-doping in Olympic sports in the US. It is empowered to bring charges that could lead to suspension and the rescinding of awards. It does not have authority to bring criminal charges.

Lance denies charges
“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,” Armstrong said in a statement released by his publicist. “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.”

USADA’s letter, dated June 12, alleges that Armstrong and five cycling team associates — three doctors including Italian physician Michele Ferrari, one trainer and team manager Johan Bruyneel — engaged in a massive doping conspiracy from 1998 to 2011. The letter alleges that “multiple riders with firsthand knowledge” will testify that Armstrong used the blood booster Erythropoietin, blood transfusions, testosterone and masking agents, and that he distributed and administered drugs to other cyclists.