Armstrong sues to block USADA hearing

Mon, Jul 9, 2012, 01:00

Cycling: Lance Armstrong has launched legal action against the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and claimed they offered “corrupt inducements” to other cyclists to testify against him. The seven-times Tour de France winner, who was charged by USADA last month with using performance-enhancing drugs, filed a lawsuit in a US federal court this morning asking for a temporary restraining order against the agency.

The 40-year-old strenuously denies USADA’s charges and likened their processes to “a kangaroo court”, claiming they violated athletes’ constitutional rights. USADA have said more than 10 former team-mates and officials will testify against Armstrong, who has been given a deadline of Saturday to accept the charges and sanctions or agree for the case to go to arbitration. He could face having all his Tour de France titles stripped from him.

Armstrong however is instead taking another course of action and taking on USADA and the body’s chief executive, Travis Tygart, in the courts. A 111-page court submission accuses Tygart and an FBI agent Jeff Novitzsky of waging a personal vendetta against him.

The document states: “In furtherance of this effort, Defendant Tygart and Agent Novitsky offered other cyclists corrupt inducements — offers some cyclists could not refuse — to implicate Mr. Armstrong in exchange for saving the cyclists’ careers.

“If they refused to do so, USADA would work to ruin their careers, just as it is now attempting to end Mr Armstrong’s career.”

The document states Novitzsky “has been described by a variety of federal courts as having ‘callous disregard for the rights of third parties’ and engaging in ‘unreasonable’ tactics amounting to ‘harassment’.”

If the court grants Armstrong’s request for a restraining order that is likely to lead to a lengthy legal battle between the cyclist and USADA. If his request is rejected, Armstrong would instead face an arbitration hearing sometime between now and November.

USADA launched legal proceedings against Armstrong last month for alleged doping violations going back 16 years. Five others — three team doctors and two officials — associated with the United States Postal Service (USPS) professional cycling team are also the subject of legal proceedings from USADA.

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