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October 11, 2012

26 testify against Lance Armstrong in doping case

United States — Lance Armstrong said he wanted to see the names of his accusers. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency gave him 26, including 11 former teammates.

The world's most famous cyclist said he wanted to see the hard evidence that he was a doper. The agency gave him that, too: About 200 pages filled with vivid details — from the hotel rooms riders transformed into makeshift blood-transfusion centers to the way Armstrong's former wife rolled cortisone pills into foil and handed them out to all the cyclists.

In all, a USADA report released Wednesday gives the most detailed, unflinching portrayal yet of Armstrong as a man who, day after day, week after week, year after year, spared no expense — financially, emotionally or physically — to win the seven Tour de France titles that the anti-doping agency has ordered taken away.

It presents as matter-of-fact reality that winning and doping went hand-in-hand in cycling and that Armstrong was the focal point of a big operation, running teams that were the best at getting it done without getting caught. Armstrong won the Tour as leader of the U.S. Postal Service team from 1999-2004 and again in 2005 with the Discovery Channel as the primary sponsor.

USADA said the path Armstrong chose to pursue his goals "ran far outside the rules."

It accuses him of depending on performance-enhancing drugs to fuel his victories and "more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his teammates" do the same. Among the 11 former teammates who testified against Armstrong are George Hincapie, Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis.

USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart said the cyclists were part of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

Armstrong did not fight the USADA charges, but insists he never cheated.

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