USADA advances Armstrong case to arbitration panel
Colorado Springs, CO (Sports Network) - The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has advanced the case against Lance Armstrong to an independent arbitration panel.
The move to file formal doping charges could ultimately strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France victories, if the three-person panel has proof of wrongdoing.
"USADA can confirm that the independent three person Anti-Doping Review Board (ADRB) has conducted a full evaluation and has made a unanimous recommendation to move forward with the adjudication process in accordance with the rules," the organization said Friday. "All respondents will have the opportunity to exercise their right to a full public arbitration hearing, should they so choose, where all evidence would be presented, witness testimony would be given under oath, and an independent group of arbitrators would ultimately decide the outcome of the case. USADA will continue to follow the established procedures that are compliant with federal law and were approved by athletes, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and all Olympic sports organizations."
Armstrong, who won cycling's most prestigious race from 1999-2005, has repeatedly beaten back allegations of doping, but is facing his stiffest charges yet.
The 40-year-old lashed out at USADA via Twitter on Friday.
"Wow. @usantidoping can pick em. Here's... 1 of 3 Review Board members studying my case," he said.
The web link in Armstrong's tweet was a story about a criminal complaint that was lodged against Clark Calvin Griffith, who is on the review board.
In the story, Griffith was accused of unzipping his pants and forcing a female law student into lewd acts. Griffith was charged with a misdemeanor and has since entered a plea to where he will be sentenced in July.
The arbitration panel's verdict could be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a possible final decision.
Armstrong and five other people, including three team doctors and two team officials formerly associated with the United States Postal Service team, were sent a letter by USADA earlier this month informing them that the agency had evidence they engaged in doping from 1998 to the present.
It accuses Armstrong of using, attempting to use or possessing EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents and says blood samples from 2009 and '10 show data that is "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions."
USADA says Armstrong distributed and administered drugs to others, a charge consistent with what some former teammates have said publicly in the past.
06/29 18:06:36 ET