Armstrong charged with doping offences

Lance Armstrong visits the 2006 Tour de France

The US Anti-Doping Agency yesterday filed charges against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, accusing the Texan of using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

Armstrong, former US Postal team manager Johan Bruyneel and several other team personnel including the controversial doctor Michele Ferrari were informed of the charges on Thursday.

If found guilty, Armstrong faces being stripped of his Tour victories from 1999 through to 2006, while Bruyneel - current RadioShack-Nissan team manager - could be banned from the sport for

life.

The USADA said in a letter obtained by the Associated Press that those

charged had been "part of a doping conspiracy involving team officials, employees, doctors and elite cyclists."

They also say they have at least 10 former team-mates and associates who will testify against the accused, and say samples taken during his unsuccessful comeback in 2009 and 2010 are 'fully consistent' with

blood doping.

In reply, Armstrong's lawyer Robert D.Luskin went on the offensive, and questing what information USADA have compiled as part of their evidence. He wrote: "The USADA must either submit the evidence it relies upon in the June 12th letter or the Review Board should summarily recommend that this matter be dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence."

The accused have until July 9 to inform USADA if they wish to challenge the evidence against them.

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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.