“I have passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one,” Lance Armstrong said in a statement today regarding a new drug probe from the USADA.
He issued it after the US Anti-Doping Association (USADA) opened yet another investigation into whether the Tour De France champion, and five others, had been using performance-enhancing drugs. This new investigation comes five months after the previous two-year probe, which federal investigators closed without bringing criminal charges.
As a result of the current USADA charges, Armstrong was immediately barred from competing in triathlons, which he has begun participating in after retiring from cycling a year ago.
If the investigation finds that he had indeed been using drugs, he could be stripped of some or all of his Tour de France titles.
On his website, Lance said the USADA was trying to “dredge up discredited allegations” which were “baseless” and “motivated by spite.”
According to The Washington Post, Armstrong was notified of the charges via a 15-page letter on Tuesday. USADA does not have the same burden of proof that the federal prosecutors had in previous investigations; where the feds had to prove a crime, USADA just needs to prove the use of performance-enhancing drugs. To that end, USADA is introducing evidence from as far back as 1996. It also included a charge that Armstrong’s blood samples taken in 2009 and 2010, the two years he returned to cycling post-retirement, are “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions,” according to the Washington Post.
Despite these strong claims, Armstrong denies all charges.
“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,” he said in the statement on his website.