The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has issued lifetime sports bans to three former staff members and consultants for some of Lance Armstrong’s winning Tour de France teams.Luis Garcia del Moral of Spain was a team doctor; Michele Ferrari was a consulting doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti (trainer) worked for Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service teams. All had been accused by USADA of participating in a vast doping conspiracy on those teams.
USADA announced the ban Tuesday, the day after the deadline they faced to challenge the allegations or accept sanctions.”Permanently banning these individuals from sport is a powerful statement that protects the current and next generation of athletes from their influence, and preserves the integrity of future competition,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in a statement.
Under USADA rules, Moral, Marti and Ferrari had until Monday to challenge the allegations in arbitration or ask for a five-day extension. If they did not respond, USADA could impose sanctions.
Although none lives in the United States, USADA says the ban blocks them from participating in any sport that falls under the World Anti-Doping Agency code.
“The respondents chose not to waste resources by moving forward with the arbitration process, which would only reveal what they already know to be the truth of their doping activity,” Tygart said.
Ferrari, who lives in Italy, was a consulting doctor for Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams from 1999-2006, according to USADA. USADA said Ferrari developed a special mixture of testosterone and olive oil to be placed under the tongue to help riders recover from races and training. He also helped advised riders how to use EPO and avoid detection.
Ferrari’s lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment and there was no answer at Ferrari’s home.
Armstrong had admitted to maintaining a personal relationship with Ferrari, who already received a lifetime ban from working with professional riders by Italian Olympic Committee in 2002. Italian riders that worked with Ferrari were subject to a suspension.
Marti, of Spain, who worked for the U.S. Postal Service, Discovery from 1999-2007 and then Astana, helped deliver performance-enhancing drugs to riders in Europe and helped with injections, USADA said.
Moral, who lives in Spain, was the team physician from 1999-2003. According to USADA, he helped riders use banned blood transfusion techniques to help boost endurance. He also helped them use banned performance-enhancing drugs including the blood-booster EPO and steroids.
Former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis accused del Moral of organizing the doping program on the team. Del Moral said he has also worked with athletes, including French Open finalist Sara Errani.
Armstrong has declared his innocence in the case and is asking a federal court to block USADA’s case against him from going forward.
Also charged is his former team manager Johan Bruyneel, who directed him during his seven Tour de France victories and his comeback in 2009 and 2010.
Another team doctor, Pedro Celaya, also has been charged and faced the same Monday deadline. A USADA spokeswoman declined to say if Celaya asked for an extension or for his case to go to arbitration.