Armstrong subject of new doping allegations

Lance Armstrong (RadioShack)

Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) (Image credit: Sirotti)

A report in Sports Illustrated brings to light new doping allegations against Lance Armstrong. The full story will appear in print editions on Wednesday, but an excerpt published online provides a few never before published details.

The investigative piece by Selena Roberts and David Epstein is the result of work in which the pair "reviewed hundreds of pages of documents and interviewed dozens of sources in Europe, New Zealand and the U.S.," according to the report.

Armstrong has been the subject of a federal investigation led by the FDA's Jeff Novitzky, and a grand jury in Los Angeles has been hearing testimony from Armstrong's former US Postal teammates and others since last summer.

The investigation broadened to include Armstrong after Floyd Landis made allegations that there was organized doping within the US Postal team during the height of Armstrong's seven Tours de France winning streak. Armstrong has repeatedly denied doping.

Among the "revelations" to be published in tomorrow's article are charges that Armstrong gained access to an emergency blood substitute called HemAssist from maker Baxter Healthcare Corp. while it was still in clinical trials, and a statement from Armstrong's former teammate Stephen Swart who claims the American instigated the use of EPO on the team in the 1990s.

Armstrong's spokesman Mark Fabiani would only respond by telling Cyclingnews, "The story is filled with old news, recycling the same old tired lies from the same old tired liars".

A source familiar with the materials that Armstrong's camp provided to Sports Illustrated told Cyclingnews that several points were refuted to SI before publication of the story.

Clinical trials for HemAssist were halted in April 1998 and Baxter Laboratories stopped developing HemAssist in September 1998 after it was found to be of no greater benefit than donated blood. This "makes it impossible for Lance Armstrong to have obtained HemAssist during the period alleged by SI", the source said.

The article also alleges that Italian police raided the home of Armstrong's RadioShack teammate Yaroslav Popovych last November, uncovering performance enhancing drugs as well as electronic communications linking the team to Michele Ferrari, the controversial coach with whom Armstrong severed ties in 2004. Armstrong's camp denied there is any relationship between Ferrari and Armstrong in 2009 or at the present time.

A spokesman from Sports Illustrated told Cyclingnews, "We stand by the reporting in the story."

Armstrong is currently in Australia competing in the Tour Down Under, which is set to be his final international race before he begins his second retirement from the sport. He declined to comment on the story to the media prior to the start of today's stage two.

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