One of Lance Armstrong’s lawyers has gone on the offensive against the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) ahead of the agency’s release of its reasoned decision to ban the former cyclist and strip him of results including his seven Tour de France titles. USADA has previously said that the decision will be supplied to the UCI no later than next Monday, 15 October.
"The rules require us to provide a reasoned decision in every case, and we are happy to let the evidence speak for itself," said USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner, quoted yesterday on the website of the newspaper USA Today.
She was responding to a letter sent by Armstrong’s lawyer Tim Herman to USADA’s attorney Bill Bock in which he hit out at the agency accepting testimony from “serial perjurers” and also criticised it for using lawyers from a firm that had previously represented tobacco companies.
"This reasoned decision will be a farce, written by USADA with the significant assistance of lawyers from one of Big Tobacco's favorite law firms at a time when Lance Armstrong is one of America's leading anti-tobacco advocates," stated Herman. "While USADA can put lipstick on a pig, it still remains a pig."
USADA applied its sanctions in August after Armstrong decided not to contest its charges through arbitration, as he was entitled to do.
In the days leading up to that, he had lost an action brought before a district court in Austin, Texas in which he had sought to establish that USADA had no jurisdiction in the case, and that it had infringed his constitutional right to due process.
In his letter, Herman apparently ignores that decision, continuing to insist that USADA lacks jurisdiction, among other things.
He claimed that USADA’s case was built on the evidence of “serial perjurers,” a reference, presumably, to Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, who initially denied their own doping before subsequently confessing, and who are believed to be among the agency’s witnesses.
However, the agency is also understood to have witness statements from riders with a previously unblemished record such as George Hincapie, as well as evidence of positive tests by Armstrong that contradict Herman’s assertion that his client never failed a doping control.
"Fair-minded people will see whatever USADA issues is far from a 'reasoned decision' and is instead further evidence of the vendetta by USADA and its talebearers seeking publicity by targeting Mr. Armstrong, his business relations and the Lance Armstrong Foundation," added Herman.
One issue that is currently unclear is just how detailed the USADA report on Armstrong will be, at least in terms of what can be publicly disclosed, given that many of the same issues and witnesses are likely to form part of its case against his former manager at US Postal and elsewhere, Johan Bruyneel, who has chosen to fight the charges against him at an arbitration hearing scheduled for next month.
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.