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Aware of the criticism his agency has faced from Armstrong and his legion of followers, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart insisted his group handled this case under the same rules as any other. Armstrong was given the chance to take his case to arbitration and declined, he noted.
Utah’s cycling community reacted to the USADA report with disappointment but not surprise.
Utah ties to Lance Armstrong case
Wednesday’s incriminating evidence against Lance Armstrong included testimony from two cyclists with Utah ties who also admitted to doping. They are:
A member of the U.S. Postal team from 2001-04, he said Postal team boss Johan Bruyneel introduced him to doping. He said he also took drugs while on the CSC team (2005-07).
Zabriskie has been banned from cycling for six months and loses all results from May 12, 2003 until July 31, 2006. Among voided results are a first-place finish in the 2004 U.S. Elite National Time Trial Championship and his time trial in the opening stage of the 2005 Tour de France, which allowed him to wear the yellow jersey for three stages.
A member of the U.S. Postal team from 2000-01, Leipheimer testified he used the synthetic blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) in the 1990s, used a version of testosterone called “Andriol” in 2005, and underwent blood transfusions in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Like Zabriskie, Leipheimer has been banned from cycling for six months until March 1, 2013, and was stripped of all race results from June 1999 to July 2006 as well as results from July 2007. Among voided results are his eighth-place finish in the 2002 Tour de France, a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Tour de France and a first-place finish in the 2006 Dauphine Libere.
Marty Jemison, a University of Utah graduate who rode on the U.S. Postal team from 1998 to 2000 and now runs cycling tours out of Park City, declined to comment.
Former cycling pro and Salt Lake City resident Burke Swindlehurst said he hoped this was the ‘bottom," for cycling and that the sport can rebuild itself.
"I love the sport of cycling," he said. "It’s become a cliche to say it, but it really is the most utterly demanding and beautiful sport in the world."
Ryan Littlefield, the owner of Contender Bicycles in Salt Lake City, expressed sympathy for the riders, believing the pressure to win was just too much for them to overcome.
"I know those guys and it’s sad," he said. "It’s easy to point a finger at those guys, but they went all-in. You get over there to Europe and you see everyone else doing it, you can’t fault them for doing it."
Mike Hansen, the owner of Millcreek Bicycles, believes Wednesday’s revelations will hurt pro cycling but not the sport in general.
"The entire pro market is driven by advertising people and big corporations are not going to want to be associated with that behavior," he said. "It’s going to hurt pro cycling, but I still love to ride my bike. I don’t need to take testosterone to do it."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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