Featured Stories

US Courts Reject Armstrong Case vs USADA

by John Symon
August 20, 2012 (Austin, TX) – A Texas district court judge today dismissed a lawsuit filed by Lance Armstrong’s attorneys trying to block the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) from pursuing anti-doping rule violation charges against the 7-time Tour de France winner. Federal judge Sam Sparks rejected the lawsuit because… “Armstrong’s due process claims lack merit” and because “the Court lacks jurisdiction over Armstrong’s remaining claims, or alternatively declines to grant equitable relief on those claims”.

Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA welcomed this news. “We are pleased that the federal court in Austin, Texas has dismissed Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit and upheld the established rules which provide Congressionally mandated due process for all athletes.

“The rules in place have protected the rights of athletes for over a decade in every case USADA has adjudicated and we look forward to a timely, public arbitration hearing in this case, should Mr. Armstrong choose, where the evidence can be presented, witness testimony will be given under oath and subject to cross examination, and an independent panel of arbitrators will determine the outcome of the case.”

Armstrong’s legal team had been trying to block the case, arguing that USADA’s rules violate athletes’ constitutional right to a fair trial. USADA alleges that Armstrong repeatedly used performance-enhancing drugs on his way to seven consecutive Tour de France wins (1999-2005); Armstrong continues to protest his innocence, claiming that he has never failed any of approximately 500 doping tests he was subjected to.

Meanwhile an interesting turf war has erupted over who has jurisdiction to preside over the case. The UCI maintains that USADA has no basis to get involved in the Armstrong case. But USADA responded that its authority stems from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

“[WADA], the organization charged with monitoring international compliance with the code, has determined USADA has results management authority in this case because USADA discovered the alleged anti-doping rule violations,” William Bock III, a lawyer for USADA, wrote to Sparks on Friday.

USADA has dismissed the idea of the UCI conducting the Armstrong investigation, claiming that this would be like, “the fox guarding the henhouse.” Some of those accusing Armstrong of doping also accuse the UCI of protecting Armstrong and of covering up evidence damaging to the seven-time Tour de France winner.

Regarding this last point, in May, 2011, the UCI issued this statement:

“The International Cycling Union categorically rejects the allegations made by Mr. Tyler Hamilton, who claims that Lance Armstrong tested positive for EPO during the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and had the results covered up after one of his representatives approached the Lausanne laboratory responsible for analyzing test results from the event.”

“The UCI is deeply shocked by the seriousness of the allegations made on the “60 Minutes” programme aired by US television network CBS, and by the extent of the media interest in the case, and wishes to state once again that it has never altered or hidden the results of a positive test.”

Following today’s US federal court ruling, the UCI commented that, “The UCI … took the position that it had jurisdiction for results management and proposed that a third neutral and independent body should decide, based upon the evidence in USADA’s file, whether Lance Armstrong had a case to answer or not. The UCI notes that according to the US Court arbitration proceedings should meet its concerns.”

Adding fuel to this raging fire in the sport was the recent confession to doping by Jonathan Vaughters, current manager of Garmin-Sharp WorldTour team and formerly a pro rider from 1994-2003 with teams such as US Postal [with Armstrong] and Crédit Agricole. Vaughters wrote a 1,200-word editorial in the New York Times about his battle with drugs and doping, and rumours suggest that he is among Armstrong’s former teammates who may testify against him before USADA.

Read more CBC and Fox.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.