February 3/12 18:33 pm - Armstrong Inquiry Closed by U.S. Authorities
Posted by Editoress on 02/3/12
American federal prosecutors have announced that the investigation into allegations of a doping program by Lance Armstrong and his team mates while sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service has been closed.
The Associated Press quoted U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr as saying his office "is closing an investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates of a professional bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong."
Birotte did not provide reasons for ending the investigation, however, other than claims by disgraced former team mate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, authorities did not seem to be able to uncover any substantial proof to support the allegations. Another disgraced former team mate, Tyler Hamilton, claimed on the television news program 60 Minutes that he had seen Armstrong use EPO, while team mate George Hincapie (who was mentioned in the same show) denied it.
Armstrong has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing and, despite a string of subpoenas of former team mates and team staff, invetsigators were unable to find sufficient evidence to move forward with the grand jury investigation.
Armstrong has fought the charges aggressively, calling it at times a 'witch hunt', and the extremely popular cancer survivor and fund raiser received considerable support from the cancer community.
However, the U.S. Anti-doping Agency (USADA) has not dropping its investigation into doping, and plans to use the material gathered by the U.S. Attorney's office. A statement from the USADA confirmed this, with CEO Travis T. Tygart commenting "Unlike the U.S. Attorney, USADA’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws. Our investigation into doping in the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation."