Which Drugs Is Lance Armstrong Accused of Taking?

Here's a rundown of the banned substances that Armstrong allegedly used to fuel his historic seven Tour de France wins

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Lance Armstrong in action on stage 18 of the 2009 Tour de Franc in Annecy, France, July 23, 2009.

“Enough is enough.” With those loaded words, seven-time Tour de France winner, cancer survivor, and patient advocate Lance Armstrong put an end to the accusations of doping that have dogged him for years. Faced with a deadline for responding to allegations by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that he both used and distributed performance enhancing drugs during his competitive cycling career, Armstrong decided on Thursday to avoid arbitration with USADA and accept the agency’s punishment.

USADA swiftly revoked all seven of Armstrong’s Tour titles and banned him for life from the sport of cycling. The international cycling federation, Union Cycliste Internationale, has yet to take action, demanding an explanation from USADA for the agency’s censure.

Armstrong has been a controversial figure in a sport buffeted by doping scandals; as the only cyclist to win the grueling Tour de France seven times, he became a lightning rod for rumors and accusations of cheating through doping. Armstrong won the first of his consecutive Tour titles three years after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

USADA says it has evidence [PDF] that Armstrong had since 1999 led a conspiracy involving trainers and lab officials to encourage doping among certain cycling teams, as well as to cover up allegedly positive results from some riders. Two former members of Armstrong’s United States Postal Service (USPS) and Discovery Channel teams — Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton — confessed to doping and told the agency they knew Armstrong used banned substances to fuel several of his Tour victories between 1999 and 2005.

(MORE: How Lance Armstrong Lost His Tour de France Titles)

In a statement posted on his website, Armstrong detailed his reasons for ending his fight against USADA, saying that the strain of the constant accusations has “taken a toll on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me.” He maintains his innocence. “I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair,” he wrote of the anti-doping agency’s investigation. “There is zero physical evidence to support [the] outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors.”

By choosing not to arbitrate, the testimony and evidence that USADA has against Armstrong may never be heard, leaving unanswered the relevant question: Did he or didn’t he take illegal performance enhancing drugs during his competitive career?

We may never know the answer to that, but what follows are drugs USADA has accused him of taking (below, is the abridged rundown taken from the agency’s official charges [PDF]). USADA’s allegations are based on testimony the agency took from eyewitnesses — members of Armstrong’s USPS and Discovery Channel cycling teams who say they saw Armstrong taking the drugs or in possession of them, or were in some cases allegedly given the banned performance enhancers by Armstrong or doctors working with the teams:

Erythropoietin (EPO), also known as “E,” “Po,” “Edgar” or “Edgar Allen Poe,” among other names. EPO is used by athletes to increase the number of red blood cells in their circulatory system which are available to carry oxygen. … Even after the EPO urine test was developed and implemented in sport in late 2000 EPO was difficult to detect and the Respondents [Armstrong, a team director, team captain and team doctors] implemented a number of means to avoid detection of EPO use, including: micro-dosing (i.e., using smaller amounts of EPO to reduce the clearance time of the drug), intravenous injections (i.e., injecting the drug directly into the vein rather than subcutaneously to reduce clearance time), saline, plasma or glycerol infusions (described below) and various effort to avoid testing by drug testers at times that EPO might still be detectable in the riders’ urine. … Multiple riders with firsthand knowledge will testify that between 1998 and 2005 Armstrong personally used EPO and on multiple occasions distributed EPO to other riders.

Blood transfusions (a/k/a “blood doping”). Blood transfusions generally involve the extraction of an athlete’s own blood pre-competition and re-infusion of that blood shortly before or during competition (e.g., in the evening or on a rest day in a multistage race) to increase the athlete’s oxygen carrying red blood cells. By increasing the number of circulating red blood cells, transfusions increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood and enhance endurance and recovery. No effective anti-doping test has yet been implemented to detect autologous transfusions (i.e., transfusions of an athlete’s own blood). … Multiple riders will testify that during the period 2000-2005 Armstrong used blood transfusions, was observed having blood re-infused, including during the Tour de France, and had blood doping equipment at his residence.

Testosterone. Also known on the USPS and Discovery Channel cycling teams as “oil.” Testosterone is an anabolic agent and can increase muscle mass and strength. In smaller doses anabolic agents such as testosterone can promote muscle recovery from strenuous exercise and increase endurance. Andriol consists of testosterone undecanoate, a steroid which can be mixed with oil and taken orally. Taken in this way the drug can be absorbed into the lymphatic system without being transported to the liver, making the drug more effective and reducing the prospect of liver damage. Multiple riders who competed on the USPS and Discovery Channel teams from 1998 through 2007 have reported that Dr. Ferrari [an alleged co-conspirator] developed a method of mixing testosterone (i.e., andriol) with olive oil for oral administration. … USADA has eyewitness statements from multiple sources that Lance Armstrong used testosterone and administered the testosterone-olive oil mixture to himself and other riders.

Human Growth Hormone (hGH). Human growth hormone is improperly used in sport to increase strength and lean muscle mass, to assist in weight loss and promote recovery. Multiple riders who competed on the USPS and Discovery Channel teams from 1998 through 2007 have reported to USADA that team director Johan Bruyneel, team trainer Jose Pepe Marti and team doctors Luis del Moral and Pedro Celaya provided human growth hormone to team members.

Corticosteroids (e.g., cortisone). These drugs reduce inflammation, assist in recovery and can provide a burst of energy and create a temporary feeling of increased energy and well-being. Throughout the relevant time period, corticosteroids were improperly provided to cyclists by team doctors and trainers to increase energy and enhance performance. … USADA will also rely upon firsthand testimony from witnesses who were aware of Armstrong’s use of cortisone without medical authorization.

Saline and plasma infusions. Throughout much of the relevant period the UCI [Union Cycliste International] employed a blood monitoring program and would not permit riders to compete if the rider’s hematocrit (i.e., percentage of mature red blood cells) exceeded 50%. To avoid exceeding the 50% hematocrit threshold and to prevent detection of the rider’s EPO use and/or blood transfusions, Respondents used the prohibited technique of saline, plasma or glycerol infusions to mask their use of prohibited substances and/or methods. … USADA will also present testimony concerning infusions given to numbers USPS riders, including Lance Armstrong.

(MORE: Why the Wheels Came Off the Lance Armstrong Case)

In a statement issued in response to Armstrong’s decision on Friday, USADA CEO Travis Tygart said, “Nobody wins when an athlete decides to cheat with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, but clean athletes at every level expect those of us here on their behalf, to pursue the truth to ensure the win-at-all-cost culture does not permanently overtake fair, honest competition. Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case.”

In outlining the allegations against Armstrong, USADA said it based its punishment on the following:

The anti-doping rule violations for which Mr. Armstrong is being sanctioned are:

(1)    Use and/or attempted use of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.

(2)    Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.

(3)    Trafficking of EPO, testosterone and corticosteroids.

(4)    Administration and/or attempted administration to others of EPO, testosterone and cortisone.

(5)    Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.

In following the World Anti-Doping Agency regulations for testing of athletes, USADA can test athletes during competitions and any time afterward, without notice. The samples are kept for eight years, and the agency can re-test samples as screening technology for detecting banned substances, or new performance-enhancing drugs, improves. “The out-of-competition situation where athletes don’t know if I will come knocking on their door wanting a urine or blood sample is a fantastic deterrent,” says Anthony Butch, director of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory that tests samples from Olympic athletes for the World Anti-Doping Agency, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the National Football League and Minor League Baseball.

(VIDEO: 10 Questions for Lance Armstrong)

While the surprise element can help catch doping athletes before they’ve had time to clear their system of banned substances, Butch says that’s not the only way testers are going after cheaters. New tests have been developed to detect illegal concentrations of performance enhancers much more accurately as well. Human growth hormone and testosterone, for example, pose particular challenges for testers, since they occur naturally in the body to varying degrees — so, where is the line between normal and performance enhancing?

In testing for hGH, technicians rely on a sophisticated understanding of how the body reacts when you inject higher concentrations of the hormone — other forms of the hormone start to drop. So, testers look at the ratio between hGH and these other derivatives to detect foul play. Too large a gap between these concentrations is a red flag that the user may be boosting with injected hGH. To further improve their chances of detecting doped levels of the hormone, Butch says it may soon be possible to look for the molecular fingerprint that hGH leaves on other compounds, even after the actual hormone has long been cleared from the body. “We can go from a 36-hour window for detecting hGH to a couple of weeks,” he says.

And while you could argue that the line between legitimate performance enhancement — which is, after all, what training is all about — and doping is a fine one, Butch says it’s helpful to remember one thing about the banned substances. “A lot of the things on the [banned] list are on there because they are harmful,” he says. “They have health consequences. And when people are young, they think they are invincible, and that these things won’t have adverse effects on them. But they’re completely wrong.”

36 comments
gregory.august.scott
gregory.august.scott

Every professional body builder uses steroids. Yet, the governing bodies of ethics in sports go after cyclists and baseball players? I don't agree that Armstrong should have taken steroids, but I don't see a problem with blood doping and transfusions. Michael Jackson and O.J. get off of their charges with substantial evidence, and Lance Armstrong finally admits he's done doping and had doctors who aided in his overall health and performance. Armstrong is not a cheater, he is an innovator, but should have not done the steroids. Makes me laugh why everyone is crying or getting mad at him for this, he still would have won every race, and earned all of those medals. Bike racing is more about aerobic then anaerobic.  So the bodybuilding industry can injected steroids and everything else under the sun, but a biker should be stripped of his medals because everyone else was doing HGH, but he was the winner so let's go after him. This country is screwed up, along with the on-looking sheep who make an opinion they know nothing about.

tjg
tjg

if these were the DRUGS he was taking this is a joke. transfsusions were used by the philly flyers back in the 70's. take a pint out then infuse it back during the playoffs. let's take their stanley cups away them too..he straps himself to a bike and ride 120 miles up a freaking mountain after he has gone through chemo and other treatments for cancer. i think to calm any imflammation drug like cortosone isnt out of the ordinary, football ,hockey baseball use it all the time for imflammation. these doping assoc. make sound as if he had an intervienous drip in his arm through all his races.his vo2maxx is 83.5, indurain was 88.5and lemond's was 92.5 was doping done with these other riders too. i think not... because its not enhanced by PED's. so he ha d the ability to change 02 in to energy as while as anyone that ever raced.i'm not condoning anyone who has done PED'S but in this case i think its a joke.. just a thought

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

The guys deserves a break... every drug he took is merely "questionable" as far as actual value...


It is not like this guys pumped himself with amphetamines and opiates to kill pain


The guy still is a hero and deserves a break damn it

Letamendiist
Letamendiist

I'm confused... out of the drugs mentioned, the only thing that I see that may be "questionable" is the EPO. So what if I take blood out of my body and put it back in? I be that there are cyclists that are taking illegal steroids to try to enhance their endurance, but Lance is taking the heat. The reason why he has passed each test, is because he IS CLEAN; given what we consider to be "doping" in our modern world. Boxers take (and may even sniff) a number of aspirins before a boxing match...is that doping? Testosterone can be found in supplements and levels can be manipulated based on what you eat and when you eat it... is that doping too? This guy survived cancer and set up a charitable organization that stood for hope for patients with cancer... I think envy is the real culprit here, and the person(s) who were "doped" by envy wanted to take Lance down. We forgive our pop stars and actors for cocaine, alcohol, and drug usage, but we haven't heard of any PROOF that Lance doped, have not tested every cyclist; but yet, he's still taking heat? Until I see proof, I stand by Lance. The only proof we have seen, is him crossing those finish lines on his bike. Test every cyclist first, then we can talk.

johndinglerart
johndinglerart

Arbitration more often than not finds on the side of the more powerful, institutionalized, more funded side, so no wonder that Lance felt that arbitration was stacked against him, so he folded rather than submit to its likely corrupt decision. Shame on the USADA. Shame on big gov. for the failed war on drugs which has the intended consequence to stigmatize the use of performance enhancing drugs and to smear Lance Armstrong simply on hearsay, innuendo, and inconclusive tests which makes the USADA look like a third rate organization.

Matt Vlasios Blair
Matt Vlasios Blair

Guilty until proven innocent, An unfortunate fact of all sports these days. Not very democratic at all.

Amy Jeanne
Amy Jeanne

Shouldn't the headline be "Which Drugs are Lance Armstrong Accused of Taking"

Maniscca
Maniscca

Don't really care about Lance Armstrong or the campaign to convict him of doping. Leave it alone. It's long over. Do more important work.

Chidiock
Chidiock

Apparently, all of the moderators who are able to read and comprehend are "OFF" for the weekend . . . . Hint: This is an insult,  just in case you didn't grasp it.

Chidiock
Chidiock

The timing ALONE of this accusation suggests a foul motivation.

mismoahora
mismoahora

I keep looking for someone to say i have proof and all i see is he said, she said. That is what he was proven guilty by? You got to be kidding me. This seems to be a personal witch hunt by several people. Most times you need to recognize the source from which it comes, and I for one am not impressed by the integrity of the people doing the accusing. 

Sukumar D
Sukumar D

Common-sense.  If someone is doing physical acts which are extraordinary, obviously he is consuming  strength and stamina enhancers. 

sfcat
sfcat

With no evidence at all, this is a farce. The USADA should be sanctioned. At no time has any authority ever found any evidence to support these accusations. Shame on them.

gearbuzz
gearbuzz

Yes, yes...the new "My shoelaces are broken" heroine defense has cropped up with Lance Armstrong. Pro dopers apparently study the birther playbook for how to win friends and influence people. And his fans? They're still out there looking for WMD in Iraq. Funny how there's this rationale to think that everybody in the Heartland (laugh in the sleeve) is just Dorothy being pursued by The Wicked Witch. Wait til DT the Golden Coiffed  gets to back this shyster up. Just remember: only ONE American has won the Tour, and that's over a score of years ago.  Just Juan. Them's the facts ma'am.

NStat
NStat

Its not like anyone else could receive those titles, every second place rider was a cheat

ThinkAboutIt
ThinkAboutIt

The Spanish inquisition had more justice than the USADA puts out!!

Evidence rules or USADA shows the whole world that hard conclusive evidence means absolutely nothing.

I hope the world hates USADA for raising hearsay above hard evidence. The people of the USA ought to bring this to the Supreme Court and sue USADA for crapping on Lance and the country as a whole.

When people rule on hearsay, opinion testimony against hard conclusive evidence - then we have reverted back to the dark ages.

ThinkAboutIt
ThinkAboutIt

No hard evidence, hearsay only, no proof. Money under the table to get conspiracy going. They didn't catch him at test time. Testing ought to be the sole determinant, as evidence. PERIOD!!!!

Time for USADA to move on and get over it. He wasn't caught!

AND contrary to the damned idiot press, Lance halting the expense and damage to self and family IS NOT admission of guilt, NOT proof and DOES NOT guarantee the "there is no longer any doubt that he cheated" or "now he know he did it!" as the media keeps saying falsely.

Nonaffiliated
Nonaffiliated

Maybe I've missed it...  Is there any physical evidence at all?  From everything I've read, all they have are witness statements.  No photos?  No samples?  No seized paraphenalia?  No abnormal enzyme levels in the blood samples? 

All these witnesses...why did they not report it in a timely manner, when it could be verified (or not)?   Because they were using too?  Was EVERYONE using?  If so, why single out Armstrong?  If everyone was using and he still won the race, he's still the champion.

Tim Elliott
Tim Elliott

So a weak, and vague charging document can be made legal by the mere promise that you'll find out about your accusers on a later date? No physical evidence is actually needed? You can accept guilt or go in front of a tribunal where at minimum one juror is already in favor of the plantiff/defense from the start?

It's should be pretty obvious why McCain loves NDAA, I mean USADA. Sad that the USADA model of prosecution is even allowed.

dwestwing
dwestwing

Okay, this has been the most informative article I've read on the specifics of the doping accusations. Thanks. By the way, the public's interest in cycling will drop down to none, thanks to the efforts of the USADA. Hope they're happy now.

Silky Johnson
Silky Johnson

They even admit in the paper that they have absolutely nothing on Lance in regards to HGH.  It's not even listed under Ferrari or his name.  They like to just tack that on to him because people around him were on it.  Lance shows absolutely none of the physical signs of an HGH user.  EPO yes.  Low dose testosterone (Very low dose since he never popped for it) quite possibly.  This is a witch hunt.  50% of the TDF is doing hardcore performance enhancers and the numbers jump to above 90% amongst the top 50 riders.  Lance is still the best of the best.  When they are all doping it's a level playing field.

Nwvotes
Nwvotes

Were you surprised to hear that Lance Armstrong is not fighting doping charges and is banned from racing and stripped of 7 Tour wins? Vote at Nationwidevotes.com 

Chinga_Tu_Madre
Chinga_Tu_Madre

So all the USADA has on Armstrong is testimony? THAT is the basis for their charges and action? Sounds like Lance is getting railroaded.

For all his wins on "Le Tour," if he submitted to random drug tests throughout the year, then why isn't there physical evidence of his doping? If the USADA possesses incontrovertible proof of illegal drug use, wouldn't they have stripped Armstrong of his wins long ago?

Lala
Lala

who cares? I'm sick of it too

Chidiock
Chidiock

I'm guessing that you read a lot of "Tom, Dick and Jane" . . . . . .

Walker McKittrick
Walker McKittrick

There is no physical evidence.

These witnesses--the majority of whom were caught doping--have been offered deals by USADA in order to testify against Armstrong.

burtonernie1
burtonernie1

They have samples from all his tests, and can re-test as new testing methods become available. From what I have read previously, they take issue with samples collected in 2009 and 2010. The rest of the 'evidence' is made up of people close to him that will testify that they themselves cheated, and were paid in some form when they made statements that Lance was the mastermind. Admitedly though, have the powers that be ever conducted a witchunt for someone that wasn't guilty as sin?  Moral to the story, don't idolize people you don't know, but especially athletes, and especially cyclists.

gearbuzz
gearbuzz

Au contraire, as a cyclist, an American cyclist I want LA away, far away. The only concept of cycling most Americans possess is of racing. For cycling itself there's very little joy. Your comment reflects that joylessness.

Silky Johnson
Silky Johnson

And to add...  All the other greats were cheaters too except they were actually competing against people that were relatively clean which makes their crime far worse.  Blood doping had just come onto the scene when Lemond and Hinault won like 9 straight championships, (strange that a team would just happen to get the two most dominant riders at the same time right after blood doping becomes known), then Indurain came on the scene right when EPO first started diffusing into the sport and there were numerous reports of his team having an organized doping regimen by his teammates as well.

Rade1949
Rade1949

Read the "evidence" the USADA has in the PDF http://timewellness.files.word...  Armstrong knew it was all over if he went to arbitration so he decided to call it a witch hunt before it all came out.  He's definately guilty, time to wake up. The PDF "evidence" is linked in the 4th paragraph of this story, 15 pgs long, go read that and see if you think Armstong stood a chance. They had him, no wonder he bailed out.

Margaritae
Margaritae

Chad replied I'm alarmed that a mom able to profit $6856 in four weeks on the network. did you see this(Click on menu Home)

Walker McKittrick
Walker McKittrick

I've read the PDF. It contains nothing about physical evidence. In fact, Alice took the substance of her post here directly from the letter.

As this article (and the letter) notes, all of the evidence against Armstrong is coming from testimony from compromised witnesses who have admitted to drug violations and have entered into deals with USADA to testify against Armstrong in consideration for presumed leniency in penalization for their offenses.

ThinkAboutIt
ThinkAboutIt

Stop trying to read, guess Lance's mind and take his word. You are adding speculation to the mess!! Screw an organization that refuses to accept the hundreds of tests Lance came up clean on.