Lance armstrong has suffered another setback in the ongoing doping trial. After the strong accusations by the american anti-doping agency USADA, the hearing will take place in front of an arbitration court, where evidence will probably be disclosed for the first time and witnesses will be heard.
This step was forced by armstrong’s former team manager johan bruyneel of all people, who is also accused in the case and has now lodged a protest against the doping accusations. A sports court will decide on the further course of action and a possible lifelong ban. Armstrong’s hopes for a quick end to the proceedings have thus not been fulfilled for the time being.
"I can confirm to have requested an arbitration and to contest the accusations of USADA," the belgian announced on his homepage on saturday. The USADA had informed shortly before on their part about the step. Bruyneel, who renounced his participation in this year’s tour de france, hopes that the hearing will confirm "that the case should never have come to this," he wrote further.
Armstrong, bruyneel and four other doctors and coaches from the former US postal and discovery channel teams were indicted by USADA in june. Three of them – including the italian physician michele ferrari, known as the "dottore EPO" – love an objection period expire, according to the agency’s youngest statement. Ferrari, however, does not want to know anything about the whole procedure: he was neither officially informed about the accusations, nor was he involved in any doping practices at all, the former armstrong doctor announced on his homepage.
For ex-cycling star armstrong, trial could have fatal consequences – besides a lifetime ban and disqualification from winning the tour of france, he also faces final branding as a doper. Tour of france record winner has always denied any tampering. Some of his ex-teammates, whom USADA will likely cite in court, claim otherwise.
Armstrong’s application for an interim injunction is currently pending before a district court in his hometown of austin. The texan wants to force USADA to drop the proceedings against him. The currently banned athlete – who planned to compete in triathlon after his cycling career – argues the agency did not have the authority to sanction him.
Most recently, the armstrong affair has also drawn the attention of U.S. Politicians. Congressman jim sensenbrenner questioned USADA’s actions and the consequences for taxpayers. His colleague – former presidential candidate – john mccain, on the other hand, promised the agency "full support" in the proceedings.