USADA hands Lance Armstrong associates lifetime bans

Ferrari, Del Moral, and Marti convicted of involvement in systematic doping conspiracy

by Tony Farrelly   July 10, 2012  

Syringe

USADA has handed lifetime bans to Dr Michele Ferrari, Dr Luis Garcia del Moral and Jose 'Pepe' Marti three of those it accused, along with  along with seven time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, and Johan Bruyneel of running a systematic programme of doping centred around the United States Postal Services Cycling team and its succesors.

Dr Ferrari who should have the word 'controversial' added to his name by deed poll is now on his second lifetime ban having already been banned for life by the Italian anti-doping body CONI back in 2002.

While the news of the lifetime bans for his three former colleagues won't have come as a shock to Armstrong, given the procedural inevitability once the three had decided not to contest the charges, the fact that three of his former associates - even one as tainted as Dr Ferrari - have been banned for life for serial doping offences does inevitably ratchet up the pressure on the Texan. Yesterday Armstrong's attempt to have a restraining order imposed on USADA to stop it in turn imposing a deadline of this Saturday to either accept the sanction of a lifetime ban from sport and the loss of his seven Tour de France titles or agree to contest the charges was thrown out by a Texan judge who bluntly told Armstrong and his legal team to stop wasting the court's time.

Update: Armstrong and his legal team have since re-filed a slmmed down version of the original submission - cut from 80 pages to 25 asking once again for the court to impose a restraining order on USADA to prevent it imposing the July 14 deadline. The central strands of his argument are:

  • That the USADA violates athletes' constitutional rights
  • That the agency doesn't have the jurisdiction to bring the charges
  •  That it may have violated federal law in its investigation

Armstrong's team want the court to rule before Saturday on the matter.

While it might be argued that the three banned today had nothing much to lose by accepting their fate and avoiding costly legal bills - Ferrari's has managed to keep on attracting clients despite his first lifetime ban - the fact that three of their co-accused chose to effectively accept the evidence against them will make things harder for Armstrong and his legal team if, at the end of this week, they choose to fight the charges in a process of arbitration. These bans will make it harder for Armstrong's lawyers to start from a postion that nothing happened at USPS and that the entire USADA case is built on the envy and jealousy of embittered former teammates.

Ferrari, Del Moral and Marti were respectively training advisor, team doctor, and team trainer during USPS's Tour-winning years. Commenting on the bans USADA boss Travis Tygart said:

“Permanently banning these individuals from sport is a powerful statement that protects the current and next generation of athletes from their influence, and preserves the integrity of future competition.”

 A statement on the USADA website highlights four of the charges against the three men, charges which are also laid against their co-accused Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel for which it said the lifetime bans had been imposed.

1)    Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids, and masking agents.

(2)    Trafficking of EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids and masking agents.

(3)    Administration and/or attempted administration of EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids, and masking agents.

(4)    Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.

Under the World Anti Doping Authority code to which both USADA and the UCI are signed up, bans longer than the standard sanction of two years can be imposed in aggravating circumstances - in this case that amounts to multiple anti-doping rule violations which said the USADA statement merited lifetime bans which will "prevents these individuals from participating in any activity or competition organized by any signatory to the Code or any member of any signatory."

Dr Ferrari has long been a controversial figure, CONI, the Italian National Olympic Committe, banned him from all involvment with sport as long ago as 2002 and any athlete caught associating with him risks a six month ban as last year's Giro d'Italia winner Michele Scarponi may yet find to his cost. Ferrari is at the centre of an ongoing Italian enquiry in to doping in cycling. Another top Italian cyclist Filippo Pozzato will miss the Olympics later this month after being charged by CONI after the rider admitted using training plans devised by the doctor.

According to the USADA indictment Dr Del Moral specialised in blood-boosting procedures in which riders had samples of their blood taken earlier in the season when richer in oxygen carrying red blood cells transfused back in to their bodies - a method of aiding recovery and boosting performance during stage races. The doctor also assisted with saline infusions that helped keep the rider's haematocrit levels below the acceptable threshold. After leaving USPS in 2003 USADA say he continued to work with cyclists including former USPS riders at his sports clinic in Valencia. USADA also found him guilty of administering EPO, human growth hormone (HGH) and cortico-steroids.

Pepe Marti who worked for Astana after his time with USPS and Dicovery was found guilty of adminstering EPO and other banned substances, as well as assisting with blood transfusions and transporting drugs and doping products to training camps, races,  and rider's homes across Europe.

32 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

So, if my timeline is not mistaken, Pepe Marti went from Discovery to Astana. You'd have thought Lance and Contador wouldn't have wanted such a naughty man following them when they went from Discovery to Astana - must have been an oversight.

posted by philallan [14 posts]
10th July 2012 - 19:05

3 Likes

1999; Zulle, 2000; Ullrich, 2001; Ullrich, 2002; Belloki, 2003; Ullrich, 2004; Kloden, 2005; Basso...Come on down? Ullrich only lost his 2005 second place?? Am I right? All five have admittted/been associated with doping Sad

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
10th July 2012 - 19:24

2 Likes

I really hope they find nothing on Armstrong. I don't particuarly like the guy, but he's a big name, he pretty much "IS" cycling to non cyclists, something this big would do so much damage to the sport, turning off sponsors, potential athletes and reduce public support.

On the other hand, this EPO, would it improve my times on my evening run out?

posted by meehaja [27 posts]
10th July 2012 - 20:17

2 Likes

What would those tour wins look like if you go down far enough to find riders not admitted/banned?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3417 posts]
10th July 2012 - 20:22

2 Likes

meehaja; my thoughts entirely!! Devil But; get it wrong and you could die of a stroke, heart attack or lose a limb Sad (blood clots). The angel on my othet shoulder is telling me it is better to be s**t than inject s**t.

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
10th July 2012 - 20:35

2 Likes

notfastenough; I make it 1999; Escartin, 3rd. 2000; Beloki, 3rd. 2001; Beloki, 3rd. 2002; Beloki,2nd. 2003; Sastre, 9th!!!! 2004; Azevedo, 5th. 2005; Leipheimer, 5th. Shocking stuff; and some of these names are tainted Sad

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
10th July 2012 - 20:59

2 Likes

SideBurn wrote:
notfastenough; I make it 1999; Escartin, 3rd. 2000; Beloki, 3rd. 2001; Beloki, 3rd. 2002; Beloki,2nd. 2003; Sastre, 9th!!!! 2004; Azevedo, 5th. 2005; Leipheimer, 5th. Shocking stuff; and some of these names are tainted Sad

THIS is why as a keen cyclist I'm just not interested in the Tour de France etc, Anyone that 'wins' whilst doping is an absolute loser and a c*** as far as I'm concerned, all these B*******s have ruined the sport of cycling.

posted by kie7077 [534 posts]
10th July 2012 - 21:24

3 Likes

Beloki was implicated in op puerto wasn't he? Removed from investigation by Spanish authorities according to Wikipedia, although I don't know why.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3417 posts]
10th July 2012 - 21:29

1 Like

That is what I meant by 'tainted' notfastenough. Leipheimer took a hayfever steak sorry I meant hayfever pill that gave him a positive reading. When you Google these names; other names pop up as if they are all linked to Ferrari or Fuentes or Lance in some way; ie Azavedo left US Postal and the sport for 'personal reasons'. Because he would not take the 'medication' I wonder? Or because he did?? It stinks. But innocent until proven guilty.

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
10th July 2012 - 22:43

2 Likes

"all these B*******s have ruined the sport of cycling" +1 from me, kie7077

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
10th July 2012 - 22:45

1 Like

I think Wiggo got it spot on the other day regards these cheats.

Talented rider, Track champ and now diplomat. Whats next... Wiggo for PM Smile

posted by gareth2510 [141 posts]
11th July 2012 - 7:46

2 Likes

this is good, been coming an awfully long time. But if Ferrari received a life ban in 2002, how is he able to carry on pedalling his filth?

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
11th July 2012 - 7:53

3 Likes

Boom. The net is closing. The USDA must have some strong s**t. Chapeau boys. If LA didn't dope the Pope isn't a Catholic.

andrew streit

posted by andrew streit1 [26 posts]
11th July 2012 - 8:12

1 Like

Could I just post my appreciation here at how road.cc is managing to be calm and balanced about all this?

Reading Cycling News' pompous article about "lets hope he has the maturity and quite frankly the respect for the yellow jersey" was almost an iPad-throwing moment for me (and frankly, I don't think any site with the blatant non-cycling linkbait that CN runs at the bottom of each article should really be preaching about "maturity").

road.cc is managing to strike exactly the right note with the doping coverage. Well done chaps.

Doctor Fegg's picture

posted by Doctor Fegg [137 posts]
11th July 2012 - 8:17

3 Likes

notfastenough wrote:
Beloki was implicated in op puerto wasn't he? Removed from investigation by Spanish authorities according to Wikipedia, although I don't know why.

I think he had the same defence as a number of riders and which the country's authorities accepted. Which was, er, being Spanish Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8388 posts]
11th July 2012 - 8:57

2 Likes

SideBurn wrote:
That is what I meant by 'tainted' notfastenough. Leipheimer took a hayfever steak sorry I meant hayfever pill that gave him a positive reading. When you Google these names; other names pop up as if they are all linked to Ferrari or Fuentes or Lance in some way; ie Azavedo left US Postal and the sport for 'personal reasons'. Because he would not take the 'medication' I wonder? Or because he did?? It stinks. But innocent until proven guilty.

Yes, sorry I did catch the implication - all I was getting at was that when a winner is found to be doping, the award goes to the 2nd placed rider, but at this rate we'll keep repeating that until one of the podium girls is awarded the win...

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3417 posts]
11th July 2012 - 10:21

2 Likes

One of the most distasteful aspects of this whole affair is Armstrong's line of defence in his original submission to the court i.e. that the USADA are simply grandstanding and looking to justify their existence. How about defending his own conduct and association with known drugs cheats rather than firing insults at the authorities? It's pathetic and demeans the sport even further.

I genuinely believe that the Tour is a different place these days and like any sport, there will always be those looking to cheat but at least it isn't widespread. Allez Wiggo!

posted by barongreenback [20 posts]
11th July 2012 - 10:56

2 Likes

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
notfastenough wrote:
Beloki was implicated in op puerto wasn't he? Removed from investigation by Spanish authorities according to Wikipedia, although I don't know why.

I think he had the same defence as a number of riders and which the country's authorities accepted. Which was, er, being Spanish Wink


Which brings up another facet of this case. As an American, I do take a bit of pride in Lance's success. If he's found to be a fraud (something I have suspected for a while now) those 7 TdF wins vanish, and Lance's transgressions forever stain the image of American sport. However, there is a silver lining, in that it was an American agency that took him down, despite all his money and influence. At least people in other countries wouldn't look at USADA as a shill agency that shields American athletes from justice.

If USADA was protecting Lance and some other agency finally brought him to justice, it would cast doubt and shame on all American athletes. Instead of being a country that birthed one of the biggest cheats in the history of sport, we'd be the country that *sanctioned* one of the biggest cheats in the history of sport. I can live with the former, but the latter would make me sick to my stomach.

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
11th July 2012 - 11:56

3 Likes

Fair point. I wouldn't like to thought of as being "in on the act" either.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3417 posts]
11th July 2012 - 15:52

1 Like

I feel a film coming on TheBigMong; the title of that film would be???? I lanced Lance? A Tour too far? His chemical romance?

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
11th July 2012 - 15:58

2 Likes

Extremely Proud & Incredibly Doped?

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
11th July 2012 - 22:28

0 Likes

If any of you selfish idiots have had cancer, especially as bad as his,, you will know that lance would have never, after being so close to death risk his body and harm it like that. Some of you really have a lot of hate for someone just because they are the best cyclist in the world. and you really think he would risk Coming out of retirement to do the tour again twice? No a drugged up idiot would not risk an inch just to do the tour again. Sort yourselves out and start seeing sense instead of just jumping to a conclusion because you dislike someone. Angry

posted by Matty Armstrong [2 posts]
12th July 2012 - 11:32

2 Likes

Cancer shields DEPLOY

Plain Face

Barry Fry-up's picture

posted by Barry Fry-up [186 posts]
12th July 2012 - 11:43

2 Likes

I can assure you that nobody (except Lance) would be happier than me if Lance is found to be 100% clean. Matty.I have loved this sport for decades and was out in the snow and rain dreaming of profesional stardom before many contributors were even born. To find that many that I have respected and looked up to are just drugies is a bitter pill (excuse the pun) for me. I can cope with a few bad apples (Ricardo Ricco) but a carefully planned and executed conspiracy going to the top? This did he or didn't he is not good for the sport. Perhaps the worst part of this is that others would almost certainly have felt obliged to join in or give up (Ullrich?, Miller?). This has got to be done; I want to know...

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
12th July 2012 - 11:50

1 Like

White Line Highway? American Drugster? Big Trouble in Little France? Catch me if you can II? Atonement II?

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
12th July 2012 - 12:02

2 Likes

Sorry Matty, but if you look around this site and the forums, you will find that most of us are certainly not Lance-haters (there are a couple, but hey). I rooted for him all through his 7 tour victories, heck I liked him in his world champs jersey in the mid-90s, for some reason I took to him more easily than to his predecessor Greg Lemond. I read his books, I admired his recovery from cancer, and also figured that someone with his medical history wouldn't touch the stuff, but in the end, I think my admiration may have been misplaced.

Don't get me wrong, he was clearly still a superb rider - if everyone's doping, then it's the same as no-one doping, I guess - and only the man himself knows for sure. I would be real happy if he proved that his performances were just down to hard work, and will be interested to see how the case progresses, but I feel the net is finally closing.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3417 posts]
12th July 2012 - 12:48

2 Likes

I could not agree more notfastenough; I have got a copy of, "It is not about the bike". I liked Lance already before reading it, after in awe; but it did tell me why I was an also ran in the bunch. I remember when Ullrich attacked Lance in the mountains and he did not react...immediately. He realed Ullrich in, caught him, when Ullrich realised it was Lance beside him Ullrich's head dropped, defeated. He must have wondered what he had to do to beat Lance? And then Ullrich was busted for drug abuse.

posted by SideBurn [854 posts]
12th July 2012 - 14:31

1 Like

Yep, then when it suited him, Lance simply rode away from him, with THAT look into his eyes. Awesome racing, now tainted by the idea that it was a bunch of near-cyborgs taking part...

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3417 posts]
12th July 2012 - 14:56

2 Likes

notfastenough wrote:
if everyone's doping, then it's the same as no-one doping, I guess.

This often gets said but it's not true. Some people gain more than others from doping. Just because rider X is the best in a field of doped riders doesn't mean he would be best in the same field of riders if they were all clean.

posted by Mat Brett [1922 posts]
12th July 2012 - 20:00

1 Like

Precisely, which is why it's wrong that he doped - I was simply providing some context around my opinion to Matty, ie. that I don't simply hate Lance.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3417 posts]
13th July 2012 - 8:42

2 Likes