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News Review: The Lance Armstrong federal investigation

By:
Cycling News
Published:
February 06, 2012, 3:13 GMT,
Updated:
February 06, 2012, 3:13 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 6, 2012
Super domestique Lance Armstrong prior to the start.

Super domestique Lance Armstrong prior to the start.

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A summary of the weekend's biggest news

Late Friday afternoon in the United States, the U.S. Attorney's office released a small statement to the media explaining that the federal case against seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong along with members and associates of US Postal Service team had been dropped with no charges filed.

Cyclingnews gives you a weekend wrap of the reactions, and stories that developed since.

Armstrong welcomes end of federal investigation, February 4

The following morning Armstrong himself was one of the first to release a statement, saying that he was happy the U.S. Attorney's office had reached the right decision, and that he could now move on with his work as an advocate for the fight against cancer.

"I am gratified to learn that the U.S. Attorney's Office is closing its investigation," said Armstrong.

Long time critics the Frankie and Betsy Andreu were less than pleased with the decision.

UCI wants to put Armstrong investigation behind it, February 4

Both Pat McQuaid and the UCI presented a united front when faced with the news. Cycling's governing body said they just wanted to move on, with the future of the sport now the most important thing rather than dragging the image and credibility continuously through mud.

"We don't want to keep looking behind us, there's nothing there, and the investigation proved that."

WADA head expects sharing of Armstrong evidence, February 5

Witht the news that the closing of the case had no bearing on the ongoing USADA investigations, WADA boss John Fahey remounted calls for co-operation between the federal agency FIDA and the drug body USADA.

Fahey said that he expected that any evidence obtained in the federal case would be shared between both parties. He added that he hoped that it would be done as soon as possible to aid the speed at which current ongoing investigations can be resolved.

Armstrong investigation was a complicated PR case, says Roberts, February 5

A former Sports Illustrated journalist, Selena Roberts who wrote extensively on the Armstrong case during it's nearly two year life span, surmised that the case was always going to be difficult to prosecute because of what she describes as the high threshold to prove guilt.

The case aimed to prove that federal funds had been misused which added an extra layer of complexity, "it wasn't about whether or not Armstrong had doped, but whether the US government had been defrauded."

Roberts was also surprised by the timing of the announcement which came quietly on a Friday afternoon, clearly designed to draw less attention.

"I think the way the US attorney handled it by delivering his decision so late on the East Coast on the Friday before the Super Bowl. It's a pretty easy way, and perhaps not the gutsiest way to deliver the news," she said.

USADA may struggle to study all evidence in Lance Armstrong investigation, February 5

Immediately following the US Attorney's office statement, USADA released a statement explaining that the organisation looked forward to getting hold of the evidence obtained in the federal case.

"USADA’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws," read a statement from USADA CEO Travis Tygart, implying that USADA would be continuing it's pursuit of the Armstrong and USPS case on anti-doping rules. But it may be difficult for them to obtain the evidence with the US Attorney's office still bound by Department of Justice protocol and policy.

"It comes down to certain rules, and laws and policies at the United States Department of Justice," said U.S. Attorney office spokesman Thom Mrozek. "And if they want to request information from us we'll take a look at the request and see what, if anything, we can do to help them out."

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