Doping charges recommended in Armstrong case

A review board has recommended that the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) file anti-doping rule violations against Lance Armstrong, it was announced today. The agency claims to have evidence that the seven-time Tour de France champion conspired to boost his and his US Postal team's performance through the use of performance enhancing drugs.

“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," a statement from USADA read.

"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."

The allegations against Armstrong were leaked to the press earlier this month. USADA claims that Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Michele Ferrari and US Postal team doctors engaged in a doping conspiracy. It also alleges that Armstrong's blood values from his comeback years showed indications that he was doping.

Armstrong has vigorously denied the use of performance enhancing drugs, and his lawyers objected that USADA had not presented them with all of their evidence in advance of the review board's decision.

Should Armstrong wish to fight the charges, the case will go in front of an arbitration panel, where all of the evidence will be aired.

Armstrong stands to lose at least one of his Tour titles due to the eight-year statute of limitations on doping charges, however the World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed to Cyclingnews that older evidence may be used to support current charges in certain cases.

"An arbitration panel will also have to consider whether evidence outside the period of eight years can be used to corroborate evidence within the limitations period," WADA's Terence O'Rorke said.

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