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"There will not be a hearing in this case because Lance Armstrong strategically avoided it," the USADA report says. "He voluntarily gave up his right to cross-examine the witnesses against him."
Or as World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey puts it, "To refuse the charges can only leave the interpretation that he is a cheat."
Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his ... heinous claims.
—Armstrong on Aug. 23
In fact, there's substantial physical evidence, and USADA cites much of it to corroborate volumes of "nonanalytic" testimony from witnesses. In 2004, using a recently developed test for EPO, the French Anti-Doping Laboratory began a research study on urine samples from the 1999 Tour. The lab found that six of Armstrong's samples from that race tested positive. A year later a Dutch lawyer, appointed by the UCI to investigate those findings, criticized the French lab for its handling of the samples, and cycling's governing body declined to sanction Armstrong. But Andreas Briedbach, former head of the EPO testing group at UCLA's antidoping lab, told SI, "If there was a lab that could test for EPO at that time, it was the Paris lab." And USADA, provided access to lab reports for the samples, declared the test results to be "resoundingly positive."
In 2001, Hamilton and Landis say, Armstrong failed an EPO test during his victory at the Tour of Switzerland. In The Secret Race, Hamilton says Armstrong told him, "I got popped for EPO." Hamilton writes that Armstrong laughed it off: "No worries, dude. It's all taken care of." Landis says Armstrong told him that he and Bruyneel struck a deal with the UCI to conceal the positive test, and last year 60 Minutes reported that a UCI representative had wanted the matter of the suspicious test to go no further. The UCI vigorously denied both stories. It later accepted $125,000 in donations from Armstrong, money that was spent on a youth antidoping initiative and a blood-testing device. Hein Verbruggen, who led the UCI at the time of Armstrong's donations, said, "Lance Armstrong has never used doping. Never, never, never." But the UCI declined to share with USADA its '01 Tour of Switzerland test results. Current UCI president Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews.com in July 2010 that "Lance does all the tests like everyone else, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with his biological passport."
But in 2009 and '10 Armstrong did have a problem with his biological passport, the program that tracks fluctuations in blood values over time. In '09, for instance, Armstrong posted on Livestrong.com the results of 33 drug tests he had taken from August 2008 to July 2009. No single test suggests a positive finding, but taken as a time line, the results are strongly consistent with blood doping. Blood plasma expands as a cyclist participates in a multiweek race, diluting the proportion of red cells in the bloodstream and lowering hematocrit. Armstrong's hematocrit dropped from 43.5 to 38.2 during the Giro d'Italia. But a few weeks later, during the Tour de France, Armstrong's hematocrit began around 43, hovered around 40 or 41 and then returned to 43, which happens when red blood cells are artificially added.
A second sign suggests that red blood cells are being supplemented from outside the body: Bone marrow will slow down the production of new red cells known as reticulocytes. While Armstrong's reticulocyte count hovered around the normal 1% in most of the tests posted on his site, it dropped to 0.5% after the Tour began. "When Armstrong published his results online, frankly, I couldn't believe it," says Dr. Michael Ashenden, a former member of UCI's biological passport expert panel. Christopher J. Gore, head of physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport, told USADA the chances of Armstrong's low reticulocyte counts occurring naturally were "less than one in a million."
I am sorry for you. I am sorry you can't dream. I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles.
—Armstrong to all his critics from the podium in Paris after winning his seventh and final Tour, in 2005