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USA Cycling's Steve Johnson encouraged about sport's future
USA Cycling announced today that it will enforce the six-month suspensions levied by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) against five U.S. riders - Tom Danielson, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie - who all were former teammates of Lance Armstrong and provided testimony in USADA's investigation of doping practices carried out by Armstrong and the US Postal Service team. Additionally, USA Cycling is currently reviewing the impact of the sanctions on the riders' historical results.
"I am glad to see the release of the Reasoned Decision by USADA and the official announcement of the sanctions accepted by the riders who participated in the investigation," said USA Cycling President and CEO Steve Johnson in a statement. "More importantly, I would like to personally acknowledge the extraordinary courage of these riders who placed their careers on the line in order to come forward with their experiences of past doping practices.
"While this is an extremely difficult time for the sport, I believe that riders of today understand that doping is intolerable, that it will be discovered, and that a decision to engage in doping in any form is senseless. As a result, I am greatly encouraged that the culture of professional cycling has changed and the future of our sport has never been brighter."
In total, 11 former teammates of Armstrong testified in the USADA investigation with six of the riders, the five aforementioned Americans plus Canada's Michael Barry, still active professionals. Cycling Canada has stated that it would uphold USADA's sanctions against Barry. While Hincapie and Barry have announced their retirement from professional cycling, Danielson, Vande Velde and Zabriskie (current members of Garmin-Sharp) and Leipheimer (currently with Omega Pharma-QuickStep) intend to continue their careers.
As per acceptance of sanction documents released by USADA, Danielson has been banned from September 1, 2012, and loses all results from March 1, 2005 through September 23, 2006; Hincapie has been banned from September 1, 2012, and loses all results from May 31, 2004 through July 31, 2006; Leipheimer has been banned from September 1, 2012, and loses all results from June 1, 1999 through July 30, 2006 and from July 7 through July 29, 2007; Vande Velde has been banned from September 9, 2012, and loses all results from June 4, 2004 through April 30, 2006; and Zabriskie has been banned from September 1, 2012 and loses all results from May 12, 2003 through July 31, 2006.