Federal prosecutors have called Yaroslav Popovych to appear before a grand jury in their doping investigation linked to seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. According to sources of the Los Angeles Times newspaper, Popovych will testify on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Popovych raced with American Lance Armstrong in 2005 with team Discovery Channel and since 2009 with teams Astana and RadioShack. He is Ukrainian and lives in Italy, but was served with a subpoena when he appeared in Austin, Texas, for Armstrong’s Livestrong Challenge Austin ride. The Los Angeles Times reported that he remained in the USA and retained a lawyer.

The doping investigation intensified when Floyd Landis sent an e-mail to the USA cycling federation on April 30. He alleged that he, Armstrong and other team-mates doped during the years that Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times, 1999 to 2005. In the e-mail he detailed the team’s doping practices, which included blood transfusions and testosterone patches. The e-mail was subsequently leaked to the media on May 19.

Jeff Novitzky, an agent for the FDA, was reportedly already working on a case involving drugs found in the apartment of cyclist Kayle Leogrande and found Landis’ allegations interesting. Armstrong rode for a team sponsored by the US Postal Service from 1998 to 2004 and, if the allegations are true, he essentially used taxpayers’ money to fund his doping.

Besides Popovych, Novitzky and his team have already called other witnesses. In September, they subpoenaed Armstrong’s former liaison to eyewear company Oakley, Stephanie McIlvain. She reportedly told former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond she heard Armstrong tell his cancer doctors in 1996 that he doped.

They have also issued subpoenas to LeMond and Armstrong’s former team-mate Tyler Hamilton, and requested documents from Armstrong’s long-time sponsors, Nike and Trek.

Armstrong last raced at the Tour de France in July. Last month, he announced he will race his final event outside the USA at the Tour Down Under in Australia from January 16 to 23.

Related links

Landis unlikely to stand trial for hacking says manager

Landis admits he doped and implicates others

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  • Mike

    Cofidis did nothing wrong, they paid his salary while he was incapacitated, which was more than fair, and decided not to renew it when it ran out. You are just buying into the Armstrong propoganda.
    Lance used this imagined slight to bolster the chip on his shoulder as he always needed someone to hate.
    As for training harder than anyone else, I believe it was Lance himself that made this recieved wisdom.
    Endurance training is not infinite, there is a maximum the body can absorb and any more is a waste, or counter productive, and leads to exhaustion and injury, hence Jans knee problems.
    Endurance events are not won by the guy who trains 10 hours a day, every day,he is usually the one in hospital, injured or ill.
    Sadly he was not a superman, just a guy who used the media to his advantage and lots of people bought into the hype.

  • Eddy

    Laz are you on drugs?

  • Robin

    The TDF stage I recall was a number of years ago when on the first medium sized climb of the race I think Kloden attacked with a Rabobank guy and USPS were made to look like rank amateurs. They couldn’t close the gaps at all. The Rabobank guy went on to win the stage.

    The next stage the race went into the proper mountains and lo and behold LA was in sparkling form as was the whole USPS team doing their usual act of riding hell for leather up to the cols whilst the creme de la creme of climbers hung onto their coat tails. I think valverde won that stage.

    This is but one example of phenomenal, but suspicious, performances by the entire USPS team. No doubt Popo has a story to tell but whether he’ll spill the beans is questionable in my opinion.

  • Laz

    Lance said he was clean and I believe it-I remember when Lance just went pro people like Merckx spoke highly of his future potiential. After his cancer Lance trained harder than anybody in the years he won the TdF; I think his near death and recovery made him re-evaluate his life and dedication to the sport, and with the slap-in-the-face Confidis gave him was more than a perfect motivation for Lances personality to prove his worth . Jan and Lances other competitors were known for slacking off in the off season. Lances teammates might have suspected Lance was doping and tried their own “programe” when they went to their own teams only to discover that if you dope you’ll likely get caught- this further underscores my belief that Lance did not dope.Finally, I would think that if Lance was doping, there is no way he would do so with the knowledge of any of his teammates which would subject him to blackmail- so subpoening any of them to testify would be unlikely to provide any evidence against him.

  • Mike

    What always made me think was the USPostal performance in the Tour in 2003.
    It was noted thet “Lance is not as strong in the mountains this year” and he was hammered by Jan in the TT, a very rare ocurence. Then the comentators noted “his whole team seems weaker in the mountains this year”.
    Could have been down to the team not geting the “peaking” (ahem) right that year.
    Then, miraculously, Lance is flying on the last mountain stage and puls off another victory.
    Yea right.

  • Colnago dave

    Like Eddy I never could get my head round the fact that every year LA led teams all could peak exactly to requirements during the TDF and if memory does not fail me always finish with a full team.
    Look at the ex team mates who moved to pastures new and tested positive. I remember a comment perhaps in Cycling about comparing Heras performance in the tour of Spain to his performance in the TDF.
    The comment went along the lines of in the TDF he could not climb stairs but in the Spanish event he was unbeatable especially in the mountains.

  • Lucas

    This is very interesting.
    Either Floyd Landis is insane and wants to be proved an idiot and a liar by Mr Armstrongs very expensive legal team, or, as would apear more logical, there is a case to answer for Lance.
    I dont know wether I am being a bit slow here but what could Landis posibly achieve by fabricating a story about a person who is famous for using the might of the legal profession against anyone who even looks at him the wrong way.
    As I say, interesting.

  • Eddy

    I can’t see Popo coughing anything unless the grand jury puts the absolute fear of God into him. All these guys having got away with it for so many years and they probably believe they can make it all go away by continuing with the omerta.

    Popo is possibly as complicit as many of the others, certainly he rode many TDF’s in LA’s service. Clearly you can never say anything in these cases with much certainty but to me all those USPS and DIscovery performances were suspect.