Four top US cyclists — all former teammates of Lance Armstrong — removed their names from consideration for spots on the Olympic team before its announcement this week.
Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie asked they be taken out of the running for places on the road cycling team for the Games, USA Cycling said in a statement.
“USA Cycling will not speculate on the reasoning behind their requests and will not have further comment,” it said. “Any questions related to their decision should be directed to the individual athletes.”
All four riders spent time on the US Postal team with Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion who is facing fresh doping allegations by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
USADA has also accused Armstrong’s former team manager, Johan Bruyneel, and other associates of being involved in a longstanding doping conspiracy that supplied the champion cyclist’s teams. Armstrong and Bruyneel have both denied the allegations.
According to USADA’s June 12 letter, “numerous riders” from Bruyneel’s teams will testify he gave them performance-enhancing drugs or encouraged them to use them. The timing of the Olympics is made awkward by the Tour, which ends on July 22. Some riders have been forced to choose between the two.