By Debbie Emery – Radar Reporter
Lance Armstrong‘s fall from glory took another shocking tumble on Thursday when it was revealed that he and his cohorts allegedly strong-armed teammates into getting injections of potentially dangerous drugs.
The allegations are part of the highly anticipated United States Doping Agency report that accused the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team of running the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” according to a statement from chief executive Travis Tygart.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, it was recommended that the seven-time Tour de France winner be stripped of his titles and banned from competition for life in August in the wake of the drugs scandal.
Front and center in the 1,000 pages of evidence is testimony from 11 of the 40-year-old cycle champ’s teammates, including Christian Vande Velde, who embarrassingly said in light of the scandal, “I have failed and I have succeeded in one of the most humbling sports in the world, and today is the most humbling moment of my life.”
According to ESPN.com, Velde was ambivalent about using the performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) recommended by Italian trainer Michele Ferrari, but was told to literally get with the program or get off the team.
“The conversation left me with no question that I was in the doghouse and that the only way forward with Armstrong’s team was to get fully on Dr. Ferrari’s doping program,” Vande Velde testified.
Dave Zabriskie, whose father died because of a drug problem, initially resisted doping and cried alone after the first time he was injected with EPO, reported ESPN.
Known for his intimidating character, Lance allegedly cold-heartedly bullied his comrades and their families including sending ominous texts to Levi Leipheimer‘s wife after Leipheimer testified to the federal grand jury.
In what has become known as the most corrupt activity in sports, all of the cyclists under the controlling team director Johan Bruyneel had the option to resist the pressure and take the higher road, but have since been heralded by the USADA for finally coming forward.
“It took tremendous courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully. It is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment,” USADA said.
“But that is what these riders have done for the good of the sport, and for the young riders who hope to one day reach their dreams without using dangerous drugs or methods.”
The 11 of Armstrong’s teammates identified in the investigation are: Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.
Also detailed in the damning document is what Vaughters described as “an outstanding early warning system regarding drug tests.” One example came in 2000, when Hincapie found out there were drug testers at the hotel where Armstrong’s team was staying. Aware Armstrong had taken testosterone before the race, Hincapie alerted him and Armstrong dropped out of the race to avoid being tested, the report said.
Armstrong’s ex-wife, Kristin, is mentioned 30 times in the report, although she did not personally testify, reported Sports Illustrated.
In one incident, Armstrong allegedly asked her to wrap banned cortisone pills in foil to hand out to his teammates.
“Kristin obliged Armstrong’s request by wrapping the pills and handing them to the riders. One of the riders remarked, ‘Lance’s wife is rolling joints,”‘ the report claimed.