As a result of USADA's investigation into doping practices carried out by Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team, several of the American's former teammates have been suspended by the anti-doping agency and disqualified from races they competed in while doping.
In their investigation, which found Armstrong guilty of several doping related charges, 11 former teammates testified under oath. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as a result of the investigation, and chose not fight the charged leveled at him. Six active riders have been suspended for six months.
Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie were part of a 26-strong group that gave written testimonies.
According to USADA the evidence gathered includes: "direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding."
The six active former teammates, Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Barry (Sky) and George Hincapie (BMC) have subsequently all been suspended. All actively race but ended their seasons in September. Both Hincapie and Barry announced they would retire this season.
Leipheimer accepted a suspension from September 1 and was disqualified from results from June 1999 to July 30, 2006, and from July 7 to July 29, 2007.
Hincapie accepted a suspension from September 1 and disqualification from results from May 31, 2004 to July 31, 2006.
Vande Velde accepted a suspension from September 9 and disqualification from results from June 4, 2004 to April 31, 2006.
Zabriskie accepted a suspension from September 1 and disqualification from results from May 31, 2003 to July 31, 2006.
Danielson accepted a suspension from September 1 and disqualification from results from March 1, 2005 to September 23, 2006.
Barry accepted a suspension from September 10 and disqualification from results from May 13, 2003 to July 31, 2006.
All declined to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games and were praised by USADA for confessing and accepting their suspensions.
"The riders who participated in the USPS Team doping conspiracy and truthfully assisted have been courageous in making the choice to stop perpetuating the sporting fraud, and they have suffered greatly," USADA said in a written statement.
"In addition to the public revelations, the active riders have been suspended and disqualified appropriately in line with the rules. In some part, it would have been easier for them if it all would just go away; however, they love the sport, and they want to help young athletes have hope that they are not put in the position they were -- to face the reality that in order to climb to the heights of their sport they had to sink to the depths of dangerous cheating."
"I have personally talked with and heard these athletes' stories and firmly believe that, collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they ever did on a bike. Lance Armstrong was given the same opportunity to come forward and be part of the solution. He rejected it."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.