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USADA set to hand UCI case file
The director of the American Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Travis Tygart, has confirmed that he has received three death threats since opening a case against Lance Armstrong and several other individuals linked to the former US Postal team. In an exclusive interview with French L'Equipe, Tygart said that security measures inside the USADA headquarters in Colorado Springs have been increased since his predecessor Terry Madden and himself have been threatened.
"The BALCO affair changed everything, as we've had to face death threats for the first time. Two for Terry Madden, and one for me and my family, later, when Landis first confessed [to doping, in May 2010 - ed.].
"Since the Armstrong affair, I've received three death threats, individual initiatives I believe. The FBI is taking care of that."
Tygart also said that the dossier of gathered evidence against Armstrong would be sent to the International Cycling Union (UCI) very soon. "It's imminent," he confirmed. "We will transmit the files at the end of this month."
According to L'Equipe, the information contained in the files will be made public "before the end of the year".
Tygart also revealed that Armstrong could be called to testify in the case against Johan Bruyneel, his former team manager still in charge of the RadioShack-Nissan squad. Facing important doping allegations, the Belgian has chosen to turn to USADA's Anti-Doping Review Board and be heard before the panel in the next couple of months.
"I don't know what Bruyneel is hoping for, he has everything to lose," Tygart continued. "He will be heard before the end of the year, and the hearing will be public. Lance Armstrong could be heard as a witness in this case, by the way. He would have to testify under oath, like the others. If there's perjury, it's serious..."
The American continued by explaining that USADA did not receive any information from the federal investigation into Armstrong's former team, US Postal, even though this had initially been planned. The fraud investigation was filed last February.
"The witnesses told us exactly what they had declared to FDA inspectors, and we could confirm all the evidence. That's where Armstrong's declarations regarding a personal witch hunt against him don't make any sense. This affair is much greater that only the Armstrong case. We're talking about a real conspiracy inside US Postal. Perfectly organised, with many actors involved. Many of which have confessed, which will not prevent them from being suspended - moderately," Tygart added.
USADA, which has already banned Armstrong and stripped him from his victories since 1998, is acting beyond the eight-year statute of limitations normally applicable within the framework of the World Anti-Doping Code. "The statute of limitations no longer applies [under American law - ed.] if the accusation can prove that, throughout all these years, the athlete who cheated influenced the witnesses who could have testified against him, if he concealed proof or lied under oath. We are certain that this has happened in the Armstrong case, and we'll explain it to the UCI when we'll transmit the dossier," Tygart concluded.