Lance Armstrong doping inquiry closes with no charges


LOS ANGELES — The investigation into allegations of doping against Lance Armstrong and his teammates has ended, with no charges brought against the seven-time Tour de France winner, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

The almost two-year inquiry against Armstrong looked into several possible crimes the athletes may have committed, including defrauding of the government, drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy, The New York Times reported. Authorities were specifically investigating if money from the US Postal Service, the main sponsor of Armstrong’s team from 1996 to 2004, was used to buy performance-enhancing drugs.

"I am gratified to learn that the US Attorney's Office is closing its investigation," Lance Armstrong said in a statement, according to The Los Angeles Times. "It is the right decision and I commend them for reaching it. I look forward to continuing my life as a father, a competitor, and an advocate in the fight against cancer without this distraction."

The US Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement that it would continue its investigation into the use of illegal drugs in cycling, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

“Unlike the US Attorney, USADA’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws,” the group said. “Our investigation into doping in the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation.”

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Several sources testified that Armstrong, a cancer survivor who has never been caught doping, did in fact use banned substances while competing. In 2010, Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis accused Armstrong not only of using performance-enhancing drugs but also of teaching others how to avoid being caught, Reuters reported.  

Landis said he witnessed some of his teammates, including Armstrong, use illegal drugs, including once on a team bus during a race. 

Olympic medalist Tyler Hamilton, who served a two-year suspension for doping, also said he'd seen Armstrong use performace-enhancing drugs. He appeared on CBS' '60 Minutes' in May 2011 to explain how he, Armstrong, and other members of the US Postal Service team all doped.

"I saw [erythropoietin] in his refrigerator. I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times," Hamilton said on the show.  

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The US Anti-Doping Agency told Reuters it has tested Armstrong 27 times since 2001, adding that that number does include tests done by international organizations.

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