11 Jul 2012

Armstrong renews USADA attack with lawsuit

1:41 pm on 11 July 2012

The seven times Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has re-filed a federal lawsuit aimed at stopping the US Anti-Doping Agency from proceeding with doping charges against him, just hours after the group issued life bans against three of his former cycling associates.

Armstrong wants a federal judge to issue a temporary injunction against USADA pushing forward with charges or punishments against him for charges he was part of a major doping conspiracy.

The USADA issued life bans as part of the conspiracy to former US Postal doctor Luis Garcia del Moral, Armstrong's personal trainer and team consultant Michele Ferrari and coach "Pepe" Marti for what USADA termed "systematic doping within the team" during Armstrong's run of Tour de France crowns from 1999 to 2005.

The trio are part of the group of six, including Armstrong, who were accused by USADA in June of being part of the doping conspiracy.

Another doctor Pedro Celaya, who is presently team doctor to the RadioShack team, and sporting director Johan Bruyneel are also accused of being involved. Bruyneel has denied any wrongdoing.

Armstrong has steadfastly denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, citing the fact he has never tested positive in a drug test, the same defence used by disgraced US track star Marion Jones before she admitted to being a dope cheat.

Armstrong had filed a lawsuit two days ago in the US District Court in his hometown of Austin, Texas, but US District Court Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the 80-page suit without ruling on the merits of the case, saying it seemed more of a public relations move than a court case.

The refiled version, only 25 pages, claims USADA lacks jurisdiction in the matter, saying the International Cycling Union should press such cases, and that the system USADA uses to judge doping challenges by athletes violates the US Constitution.

USADA could strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and impose a life ban on him if he is found guilty of the charges USADA has brought.

The moves come four months after a two-year US government probe into Armstrong ended with no criminal charges filed.