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Investigators say cyclist Armstrong was doping ringleader

Updated: 2012-10-11 13:20
( Agencies)

NEW YORK - If the United States Anti-Doping Agency is right, then Lance Armstrong cheated his way to the top of the cycling world through an elaborate doping scheme never seen before in the sport.

Hotel rooms were transformed into blood banks as riders were given late-night transfusions, doctors were paid off and competitors were warned about tests in advance, said the anti-doping agency, or USADA.

More than six weeks after it banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles, USADA revealed on Wednesday the findings of its investigation into Armstrong and his US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team.

Armstrong's lawyer called the investigation a "hatchet job" and "witch hunt." The champion cyclist has denied cheating and has never failed a doping test. But he did not fight the charges.

Investigators say cyclist Armstrong was doping ringleader

Seven-time Tour de France winner Team Radioshack rider Lance Armstrong waits at the starting line in Visalia, California of stage five of the Amgen Tour of California in this May 20, 2010 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

Alberto Contador's doping ban:
Investigators say cyclist Armstrong was doping ringleader Contador banned, stripped of Tour de France victory
Investigators say cyclist Armstrong was doping ringleader Contador's doping case
Investigators say cyclist Armstrong was doping ringleader Reaction to Contador's two-year ban

There were few new revelations in the 1,000-page report, but the weight of testimony was greater than any of the previous investigations into his conduct. (Report: http://www.usantidoping.org/)

His accusers said Armstrong - one of the world's most famous athletes who also is well known for his cancer-fighting charity work - was not only a willing participant, but the ringleaders, ordering teammates to cheat.

In addition to financial payments, emails and laboratory test results that the agency says proves the use of performance enhancing drugs by Armstrong and the USPS Team, 26 people gave sworn testimony, including 11 former teammates.

Of the 11, the most surprising was George Hincapie, who rode alongside Armstrong when he won each of his Tour de France titles and was one of his most loyal and trusted friends.

"I would have been much more comfortable talking only about myself, but understood that I was obligated to tell the truth about everything I knew. So that is what I did," he said in a statement.

Investigators say cyclist Armstrong was doping ringleader

Discovery Channel team rider Lance Armstrong of the US (R) and team mate George Hincapie pose for supporters in Paris after Armstrong won his seventh straight Tour de France, July 24, 2005. [Photo/Agencies]

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