Doping charges formally filed against cyclist Lance Armstrong
AUSTIN, Texas (KABC) -- The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency filed formal doping charges against Lance Armstrong Friday. The USADA accuses Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France cycling champion, of using performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
The charges came after a USADA review panel examined evidence in the case, which now goes to an arbitration panel to decide. If found guilty, Armstrong could be stripped of the Tour de France titles he won from 1999-2005. This year's Tour de France begins Saturday.
Armstrong maintains his innocence. Armstrong attorney Robert Luskin called the charges "wrong and baseless."
Also charged are team doctors Pedro Celaya Lezama and Luis Garcia del Moral; team trainer Pepe Marti, and consulting doctor Michele Ferrari. Because they are so closely linked, USADA rolled all of the charges into a single case.
USADA says it has at least 10 former Armstrong teammates and associates who will testify against the cyclist, and blood samples from 2009 and 2010 that are "fully consistent" with blood doping.
Armstrong and the others charged have until July 9 to inform USADA if they plan to challenge the evidence before an arbitration panel.
The 40-year-old Armstrong retired from cycling last year, and in February a two-year federal investigation centering on alleged drug use by Armstrong and his teams closed with no charges being filed.
Armstrong meanwhile tweeted Friday an allegation about a member of the USADA board. He tweeted about one member of the three-person USADA review board who was accused of sexual misconduct with a law school student.
USADA has not publicly released most of its evidence against Armstrong.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency told Armstrong earlier this month that it plans to bring charges against him. If found guilty, the titles he won from 1999 to 2005 could be taken from him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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