The Lance Armstrong investigation will continue, focused on doping instead of fraud. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president, John Fahey said today that he is waiting for federal investigators to share their evidence.

Fahey told the BBC that he was not disappointed the investigation had stopped, but that if “any cheat … gets away.”

The WADA is helping the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) obtain evidence gathered by federal agent Jeff Novitzky and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Their investigation started nearly two years ago and gathered substantial evidence.

Fahey said that now a doping investigation may begin.

“That investigation was for alleged fraud, it was a criminal investigation,” Fahey explained.

“Information has no doubt been collected which can be of some value. If we see it, if the USADA sees it, then they can make that decision. One would say, ‘You shouldn’t just let that evidence stay on some shelves somewhere.'”

Armstrong and also current athletes, said Fahey, may be concerned in any USADA investigation.

Federal investigators announced their decision to close the Armstrong investigation on Friday evening, ahead of the weekend and the planned Alberto Contador announcement from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the US Attorney in charge, Andre Birotte Jr “rejected a recommendation from his assistants that he pursue criminal charges in the case.”

The investigation centred on Armstrong’s alleged use of tax payers’ money to fund a doping programme. Former team-mates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton admitted doping and accused Armstrong of the same: EPO and testosterone patch use, and blood transfusions. Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times, six of those years the government, via the US Postal Service, sponsored the team.

The newspaper learnt that Birotte told one investigator that there would be “no discussion of the matter” to close the case. Fahey was surprised when he heard that the FDA closed it.

“It’s surprising that the investigation stopped as soon as it did,” said Fahey. “All indications were that further interviews were to be undertaken this week of various witnesses.”

Now, the WADA and the USADA are waiting to see the evidence.

“Let’s see it being examined for the purposes of progressing the fight of doping in sport,” said Fahey. “If it can, that’d be a good thing.”

Related links
Comment: Armstrong holds off the law
Armstrong case dropped by US investigators
Armstrong investigation arrives in Europe
Armstrong’s team mate Popovych testifies he did not witness doping
Armstrong’s team-mate Popovych summonsed in doping investigation
Landis admits he doped and implicates others

  • Al

    Did he cheat? Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but as far as I’m concerned that’s beyond the point.

    Given what we have seen in these past few years, a question that is worth taking into account is who would be declared the winner if Armstrong were to be disqualified? Most of those who came second and third have also been disqualified for doping (Ulrich, Vinokurov, etc), and the ones who haven’t haven’t really been investigated to the same extent. Let’s face it, if all the riders who have been caught in the past few years are removed from consideration the ‘official’ results would rapidly descend into farce… not to mention that, unless they are willing to conduct an equally strenuous inquiry into whoever would inherit those titles they would effectively be setting a system that would require different standards of proof for different athletes and that would be a far more dangerous precedent than letting the results stand as a product of their time and culture,

    Races should be won on the road, not the law court, and while I am all for disqualifying riders (or athletes) who are actively caught cheating at a later date, I believe that the Armstrong affair has turned into a witch hunt.

  • Ron Malevic

    This commentary from Cyclingnews by Richard Moore sums it up well –

    “It is a farce that is confirmed by a study of the updated results of the 2005 Tour. With Ullrich’s third-place finish now airbrushed from history, Francisco Mancebo steps up to the podium. That’s the same Mancebo who, like Ullrich, was forced out of the 2006 Tour when his name was linked to Operacion Puerto. In fact, of the revised top ten, eight riders have either tested positive, served a ban or been under investigation for doping.”

    Circumstantial or not, there is a compelling case for a continued investigation. Unless you believe that Lance has a gift that allowed him to bruise a gang of enhanced riders while he himself was pure as the driven snow. LA should applaud an ongoing investigation to clear his name in that case.

  • adam

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! ‘He’s never tested positive so therefore there’s no case! Brilliant! Apply that logic to anything else (or even just limit it to cycling and think of, say, David Millar). If you’re not actually caught doing it then there’s no chance you could have done it… hmmmm… How would the police forces of the world go about catching murders and rapists then?

    Point two: ‘That’s like making laws now to find people guilty of something 10 years ago’. Yes, that’s right. It’s called DNA testing. We develop better and better technology and then find out that someone did do something all those years ago. Or, sometimes too, that they didn’t.

    Whilst there is undoubtedly a lot of folk who see LA guilty at all costs there is also a lot of folk who see him as innocent at all costs. Both are ridiculous positions. But we should weigh up the evidence, the information and circumstances and come to a conclusion. Which is what an investigation is.

  • Spooky

    Why do you think he was ‘doping’ – because he won 7 Tours in a row? If you win you doped, if you don’t you’re clean… hmmm, sounds like the old witch hunts… guilty if you live, innocent if you drown… Maybe everyone who won the Tour doped, otherwise how could they win it… seems like what everyone is saying?? Why the obsession with LA, because you can’t accept in your minds that he could do what he did? What about every other great athlete… Indurain must have doped? Merckx must have doped? Ali must have doped? Spitz must have doped? etc. etc. If there are no tests then what’s the point? That’s like making laws now to find people guilty of something 10 years ago. I’m tired of all this, I don’t want or need to know… CW tell me something new

  • OB

    Hey Spooky,

    Just a point, tested positive for what? There were no (and still aren’t) great tests for the sorts of blood doping it’s rumoured LA indulged in. Jan Ullrich didn’t get ‘caught’ doping. It was circumstantial. With regards to LA the amount of circumstantial evidence surrounding him (including the fact he actually did test positive at one point) is overwhelming.

    Besides which I’d say anyone that outran a juiced up Ullrich deserves a closer look, wouldn’t you?

    Cycling Weekly is just, rightly, reflecting the way the majority of proper cyclists view the Armstrong case now: pragmatically.

  • Graham

    If this is pursued a huge amount of money will pass to the hands of lawyers. LA has the money in the bank. Nike would have a hard time getting it back, if he is found guilty. The money will be better spent educating athletes and team doctors of the hazards of doping: medical and legal.

    I remember CW reporting that LA wasnicknamed Mr Millimetre, such was his obsession with detail in the preparation for races. Deja vu. Team Sky’s approach.

    Wiggo like LA has a huge VO2 max, can time trial and now has a team built to take him to Paris in yellow. If Wiggo wins by a significant margin……….

  • Spooky

    Give it a rest will you! I’m sick of CW pusuit of Armstrong – the reason I stopped subscribing! He’s never been tested positive therefore there is no case – you cannot convict on hearsay – end of! Now get on with being a cycling magazine

  • Mike

    Why not.
    Ullrich is retired but he has just been banned and had his last few career wins erased.
    Why should Armstrong be handled any differently?
    Oh, I forgot, he had cancer about 10 years ago. And he is rich, and American, and he gets very stroppy with people who disagree with him.
    So its probably best to leave it.

  • martin

    maybe they can’t prove you’re a crook

    but let’s hope they can prove you’re a cheat