Report: Armstrong's former teammates give evidence against him

By Cyclingnews.com | Thursday, July 5, 2012 7.18am

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

Four former teammates of Lance Armstrong will receive six month bans after they confessed to doping and testified against the seven-time Tour de France winner, according to De Telegraaf.

George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie are said to have given evidence in the USADA investigation which has charged Armstrong with doping. All four riders are currently taking part in the Tour de France, but in recent weeks, USA Cycling revealed they opted not to be considered for the Olympic Games.

Today's report, which is front-page news, also names Garmin-Sharp boss Jonathan Vaughters. It is not clear whether Vaughters too will face suspension.

"Miraculously, USADA has arranged for the suspensions to begin at the start at the end of the season so that they are able to race both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana," the article states.

Reacting to the news this morning, Vaughters said via his twitter account @Vaughters: "Regarding the Dutch media report: No 6mos suspensions have been given to any member of Slipstream Sports. Today or at any future date."

Slipstream Sports, the management company behind Garmin-Sharp, subsequently issued a full statement:

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"Our sole focus is on Slipstream Sports. We created Slipstream because we wanted to create a team where cyclists could compete 100 percent clean. It is an organization built on the core values of honesty, fairness and optimism. Slipstream is built on the belief in our ability to contribute to changing the sport's future through a persistent commitment to the present.

"As we have always said, we expect that anyone in our organization who is contacted by any anti-doping or government authority will be open and honest with that authority but at this moment, we - our organization, our riders and our staff - are focused on the Tour de France. We won our first Grand Tour in May and to achieve similar success here, we need to focus on that. We can confirm that our Tour team is entirely focused on the Tour and media reports of suspensions are untrue."

In mid June, USADA formally charged Armstrong with doping with the use of evidence gathered in the investigation into potential doping on the United States Postal Service (USPS) (1996-2004), Discovery Channel (2005-2007), Astana (2009) and RadioShack (2010) cycling teams. Johan Bruyneel, Dr. Pedro Celaye, Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, Dr. Michele Ferrari, and Mr. Pepe Marti are also accused of a variety of doping violations, from the administration of doping products, trafficking, assisting and abetting and covering up.

Within the 15-page letter detailing the charges, USADA pointed to 10 witnesses to the alleged conduct, made up of cyclists and cycling team employees, but until now their identities remained secret.

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