Federal prosecutors in the United States investigating allegations of doping centred around Lance Armstrong and his former US Postal Service team have closed the case with no charges being brought against the seven-time Tour de France champion. However, the US Anti-Doping Agency has said that it will continue with its own enquiry into doping within professional cycling in the country.
A report in the Washington Post cited a press release from the office of United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. that confirmed that his staff “is closing an investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates of a professional bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong.”
No reason was disclosed for the decision to close the case, but referring to why it had decided to formally anounce that the investigation had been closed, the statement continued:
“The United States Attorney determined that a public announcement concerning the closing of the investigation was warranted by numerous reports about the investigation in media outlets around the world.
“Mr. Birotte commended the joint investigative efforts of his prosecutors and special agents with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Service - Office of the Inspector General.”
However, in a statement issued in reaction to the news, USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart emphasised that his organisation's own enquiry would continue.
“Unlike the U.S. Attorney, USADA’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws," he said. "Our investigation into doping in the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation.
In response to the anoucement that the Federal investigation was over, "This is great news," said Armstrong's spokesman, Mark Fabiani.
"Lance is pleased that the United States Attorney made the right decision, and he is more determined than ever to devote his time and energy to Livestrong and to the causes that have defined his career."
Armstrong had hit the headlines earlier in the day when it was revealed that his LiveStrong charity was donating $100,000 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc for cancer screening after a controversial decision by another charity, Susan G Komen for the Cure, to end its previous funding.
The latter organisation has since reversed its decision to end funding as a result of the outcry, reports Business Week.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.