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USADA files formal charges against Armstrong

Published:Saturday | June 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP):

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has filed formal charges against Lance Armstrong, accusing the seven-time Tour de France winner of using performance-enhancing drugs throughout the best years of his career.

The agency notified Armstrong, former team manager Johan Bruyneel and several other Armstrong team associates of the charges in a letter on Thursday.

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 today.

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.

Armstrong and the others "(have) been part of a doping conspiracy involving team officials, employees, doctors and elite cyclists,'' said the USADA letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.