Lance Armstrong Doping Investigation Widens as 3 Cycling Teammates Speak Out

As teammates speak out, the doping case against Lance Armstrong builds.

ByNeal Karlinsky
May 23, 2011, 7:20 AM

May 23, 2011 -- A federal investigation into Lance Armstrong and doping in cycling continues to expand as now a second and a third teammate are reportedly telling investigators that the seven-time Tour de France champion used performance enhancing drugs during his reign at the top of the cycling world.

Tyler Hamilton, a close friend and U.S. Postal Service teammate of Armstrong's, told CBS's "60 Minutes" in a report aired Sunday night the same thing that he says he told a federal grand jury – that he saw Armstrong use a variety of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) when they raced.

"He took what we all took," Hamilton said of Armstrong's use of PEDs. "There's really no difference between Lance Armstrong and the rest of the peloton. There was EPO, there was testosterone and I did see a blood transfusion."

The statements from Hamilton, who rode with Armstrong from 1999 to 2001, match the story that another former Armstrong teammate, Floyd Landis, told ABC News in an exclusive interview last year. It was Landis who first put authorities on the trail of Armstrong.

"Rather than go into the entire detail of every single time I've seen it, yes," Landis confirmed in the interview. "I saw Lance Armstrong using drugs."

Armstrong is under federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, which is looking into whether the cyclist, once one of the world's most-revered professional athletes, committed fraud by allegedly taking illegal or banned drugs to win races for the U.S. Postal Service team.

The case against Armstrong is now no longer just about whether he as an individual used drugs to win the Tour de France, but whether there was a team-wide doping program, an offense that could lead to fraud and conspiracy charges.

Lance Armstrong and his lawyer both have categorically denied that he has ever cheated.

His attorneys have established a website, "Facts 4 Lance," to point out that both riders, Landis and Hamilton, have credibility issues and have changed their stories.

"CBS chose to rely on dubious sources while completely ignoring Lance's nearly 500 clean tests and the hundreds of former teammates and competitors who would have spoken about his work ethic and talent," Armstrong's attorney Mark Fabiani said in a statement on the website.

Armstrong and his lawyers also claim Hamilton is leveraging his allegations against Armstrong to try to secure a book deal.

Hamilton's public remarks put him alongside not only Landis but also George Hincapie as now the third trusted teammate and close friend of Armstrong's to have allegedly spoken to federal authorities looking into the Armstrong case.

Teammates Describe Team-Wide Drug Use

While Landis and now Hamilton have spoken out publicly, unidentified sources were used in the "60 Minutes" report to confirm that Hincapie also testified to the grand jury that he and Armstrong shared EPO with each other and discussed having used testosterone in advance of big races.

Armstrong posted a statement in support of his former teammate on the website, writing, "We are confident that the statements attributed to Hincapie are inaccurate and that the reports of his testimony are unreliable."

Hincapie released a statement Friday saying that he did not speak with "60 Minutes" and was unsure of where the show got its information.

In the "60 Minutes" interview, Hamilton revealed that doping was not just allowed but encouraged by doctors and managers of the U.S. Postal team, even before Armstrong joined in 1998.

Hamilton, who twice tested positive for banned substances himself, said management of the team "encouraged" doping, handing out "white lunch bags" containing performance-enhancing drugs to top riders.

Although he said the practice was widespread, Hamilton focused on Armstrong, saying he used drugs but also helped others to get them through coded messages and secret meetings.

"I reached out to Lance Armstrong... and he helped me out," Hamilton said.

Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 but survived and made an incredible comeback, winning the Tour de France a record seven consecutive years, from 1999 to 2005.

He retired from the sport at his peak, but made a comeback in 2009, at age 37, saying he both missed the thrill of competition and wanted to promote a greater cause to which he'd devoted his post-cycling life, cancer awareness.

Armstrong retired again after his 2009 comeback and is no longer racing.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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