Add another noun to the litany used to describe disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong: informant.
Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today unveiled court documents Wednesday that reveal Armstrong outed the names of numerous suppliers and deliverers of performance-enhancing drugs he took while winning seven straight Tour de France titles.
According to the documents, trainer Pepi Marti, Dr. Pedro Celaya, Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral and Dr. Michele Ferrari were outed as his drug suppliers. Masseuse Emma O'Reilly, bike mechanic Julien de Vriese and Philippe Maire were also named as the main people who delivered the drugs to the cyclist, who admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs for the first time last January.
Armstrong's testimony came last November as part of a lawsuit filed by Acceptance Insurance, which had paid him during his Tour de France run. While he had previously declined to out anyone who supplied him with PEDs—specifically during his lengthy sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey—the lawsuit compelled him to testify under oath.
Had he lied under oath, Armstrong could have faced federal perjury charges. The documents are only coming to light now months later because fellow disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis' representation presented Armstrong's testimony as part of a lawsuit against his former teammate.
In the testimony, Armstrong again admitted to using EPO and various other performance boosters as far back as 1995. Armstrong won a record seven Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005, coming back after a nearly fatal bout with testicular cancer. The comeback story transformed Armstrong into a hero to many, with his Livestrong charity becoming one of the foremost and oft-promoted cancer research organizations in the United States.
While there were constant allegations—specifically in the French press—that Armstrong doped, he categorically denied the charges for years. Included in those denials were frivolous lawsuits, behind-the-scenes bullying tactics and numerous other actions designed to protect his name. Armstrong was able to garner at least partial support by claiming he'd never failed a drug test at any point in his career.
Only an investigation from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency began to erode the facade. In a years-long investigation into Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service cycling team, USADA claimed the cyclists ran the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen" and cited Armstrong as running the show.
The organization would later release a massive report detailing its allegations, which alleged a series of intimidation tactics, illegal transportation of drugs and numerous other charges. That report compelled Armstrong to meet with Winfrey and get at least part of this story out.
What Armstrong's leaked testimony does is give context. According to the court documents, Armstrong claimed to have paid for and largely administered the drugs himself—with the knowledge and help of doctors and team manager Johan Bruyneel.
"Armstrong would typically supervise his own use of PEDs, but on certain occasions, the use of PEDs was supervised by Dr. Celaya, Dr. del Moral, or Dr. Ferrari," Armstrong said in his testimony, per Schrotenboer.
Armstrong also says Thomas Weisel, who financed the U.S. Postal Service team, was aware of the rampant PED use. He also reiterated his stance that he did not take PEDs during his return to cycling for Astana or Team RadioShack.
Despite claims that Armstrong has paid off witnesses or organizations to hide his use, he also denied those charges. There was an admission that, however, he may have "provided benefits or made contributions to many people and institutions" that were aware of his PED use.
Ultimately, the latest news means more for those named than Armstrong. Although he'll likely be in some form of litigation for years, that was always going to be the case once he admitted to cheating. The fact that he was under doctor's supervision or that most of the Postal Service hierarchy knew of the drug use was already known—or at the very least suspected.
The names merely give further context to one of the longest and most dispiriting PED scandals in sports history.
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