Well, the verdict is officially out. And according to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, he’s guilty as hell.
In its 202-page report, USADA provided a mountain of “conclusive and undeniable proof” that Lance Armstrong—one of the world’s most famous cyclists and seven-time Tour de France champ—was the engine of a team-run doping conspiracy.
Though USADA recently placed a lifelong ban on Armstrong, 41, and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles, it wasn’t until yesterday that the organization finally released the report explaining why. Twenty-six witnesses, including 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates, stepped up and testified that he basically ran the doping show.
The report sheds light on Armstrong’s use of EPO (erythropoietin, an illegal hormone that controls red blood cell production), and condemns him as “serial” cheat. It claims he participated in administering and trafficking performance-enhancing drugs as part of the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team’s training regiment.
According to testimonies from former teammates, Armstrong’s goal of winning the Tour de France year after year led to his dependency on EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions. The report also said that he not only expected but pressured his teammates to use drugs to support his goals: “It was not enough that his teammates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping program outlined for them or be replaced.”
Armstrong has yet to comment on the report, but his lawyer called it a one-sided hatchet job. The debate continues, and surely there will be continued media fall out as this mystery unfolds, but perhaps this report provides solidified answers to one of cycling’s biggest question marks. Either way, things sure don’t look good for Armstrong, and we might just have to put him at the top of our list of greatest sports scandals, ever. We’ll see.