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Walsh ST

Walsh ST

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Published by RaceRadio

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Published by: RaceRadio on Sep 30, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE REPORT from the United States Anti-Doping Agency explaining why it strippedLance Armstrong of seven Tour de France titles and imposed a life ban is expected to be sent to the world governing body of cycling, the Union Cycliste International, this week.UCI will find the report is uncomfortable reading — it details the doping conspiracy that underpinned the success of the world’s top cycling team, US Postal Serviceand its leader Armstrong, from 1999 to 2004.Two riders are believed to have given affidavits that Armstrong told them he hada positive test swept under the carpet at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and another has sworn that Armstrong told him he could use his influence with UCI to circumvent cycling’s anti-doping laws.UCI is suing the former Sunday Times journalist Paul Kimmage for suggesting Armstrong was protected, an action that has outraged cycling fans and prompted themto contribute more than £26,000 to help defray the journalist’s legal expenses. Now,according to three former teammates, Armstrong himself claimed he got special treatment from UCI. Given its eagerness to go to the courts to protect its reputation, UCI may want to sue Armstrong after it has read USADA’s report.But its overriding reaction to the report is likely to be dismay that doping should have been so integral to US Postal’s modus operandi and wonder that it remained undiscovered for so long. UCI will also realise it missed many opportunities to investigate what was going on within the team and that this failure meant theteam could go on doping for as long as they wished.For example, in 2003 the former US Postal soigneur Emma O’Reilly told The Sunday Times she remembered many incidents that convinced her Armstrong and the team were doping. In particular she recalled an evening on the 1999 Tour when giving Armstrong his evening massage. She overheard him and two team officials concoct a story that, with the aid of a backdated medical certificate, let the rider escapepunishment.O’Reilly claimed at the time that she’d been told Armstrong had taken cortisone during a race the previous month and that it had stayed in his system, causing him to test positive in the first week of that Tour. Support for O’Reilly comes now inan affidavit from the rider who says it was known in the team that Armstrong used Kenacourt, a trade name for a long-acting synthetic corticosteroid.At the time of her revelations, UCI did not feel any need to interview O’Reilly and see if her many examples of US Postal’s cheating could be verified. Now UCI is having verification thrust upon it.In another rider’s affidavit there is a story of Armstrong’s concern at scar tissueon his arm caused by injections of EPO as he was about to go for his medical test before the 1999 Tour. According to this rider, he asked O’Reilly for make-up sothe scar could be concealed and that she had applied the make-up to Armstrong’s arm. This story was told in precisely the same detail by O’Reilly years earlier.What will alarm UCI is the detail contained in multiple recollections of Armstrong’s teammates. One rider tells a story from the 1998 world championship at Valkenburg in Holland when cortisone pills, wrapped in tin foil, were given to the Postal riders on the US national team for the road race. According to the rider’s affidavit, the pills were wrapped in the foil and handed out by Kristin Armstrong,the champion’s former wife. “Kristin is rolling the joints,” one rider joked at the time.Another rider recalls a telephone call from George Hincapie, a teammate of Armstrong’s in all seven Tour wins, saying he had been stopped by US Customs while retu

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