COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (BRAIN) Wednesday June 13 2012 4:35 PM MT—The United States Anti-Doping Agency has notified Lance Armstrong that it has begun the process of seeking sports sanctions for alleged doping during his career.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which reviewed a copy of USADA's 15-page notice, USADA claims to have evidence of doping as recent as 2010.
Armstrong called the charges "baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity."
"I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence," Armstrong said in a statement on his website.
The World Triathlon Corporation, owner of the Ironman events, said that Armstrong would be immediately suspended from competition. Armstrong had planned to take part in the upcoming Nice Ironman triathlon in an effort to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart defended the agency's actions in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
"USADA only initiates matters supported by the evidence. We do not choose whether or not we do our job based on outside pressures, intimidation or for any reason other than the evidence. Our duty on behalf of clean athletes and those that value the integrity of sport is to fairly and thoroughly evaluate all the evidence available and when there is credible evidence of doping, take action under the established rules," Tygart said.
Tygart said the USADA was opening its case against Armstrong and three team doctors and two team officials associated with Armstrong's former US Postal Service Team.
The latest investigation apparently is built at least partly on evidence gathered from a federal investigation into possible criminal charges. That investigation ended in February with no charges.
During that investigation at least two former Armstrong athletes, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, gave evidence to a grand jury.
Landis and Hamilton each publicly admitted to doping during their careers. Hamilton is serving an eight-year suspension for doping and Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title, is reportedly being investigated for possible wire and mail fraud connected to a defense fund he set up to fight doping charges.