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Lance Armstrong 'centre of doping racket'

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The US Anti-Doping Agency says cycling legend Lance Armstrong's team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme the sport has ever seen".

The report which came out on Wednesday had  11 of Armstrong's former teammates testifying against him in its investigation of the cyclist.

USADA delivered its reasoned decision against Armstrong with a summary of the facts it used to hand him a lifetime suspension and erase his seven Tour de France titles.

He has always denied doping allegations but had not contested USADA's charges.

To add fuel to the fire of what was to come, Hincapie admitted to doping himself on Wednesday.

Cheating confession

One of Lance Armstrong's closest allies, Hincapie, rode alongside the American in each of his seven Tour de France wins but released a statement confessing he cheated.

"Because of my love for the sport, the contributions I feel I have made to it, and the amount the sport of cycling has given to me over the years, it is extremely difficult today to acknowledge that during a part of my career I used banned substances," he said.

"Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them."

In delivering the report to the International Cycling Union, Tygart called for the federation to create a meaningful program to help clean up the sport.

Tygart said the evidence shows the code of silence that dominated cycling has been shattered.

He said evidence from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team's doping activities, provided testimony for the report. It was with the USPS team that Armstrong won all but one of his Tour titles from 1999- 2005.

Other cyclists named in the news release were Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Levi Leiphimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

'Greater good'

In a letter to USADA attorneys sent on Tuesday, Armstrong's attorney dismissed any evidence provided by Landis and Hamilton, calling them "serial perjurers and have told diametrically contradictory stories under oath".

Hincapie's role in the investigation could be more damaging, as he was one of Armstrong's closest and most loyal teammates through the years.

"I have personally talked with and heard these athletes' stories and firmly believe that, collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they ever did on a bike,'' Tygart said.

He said all the facts in the Armstrong case and the cases of six other riders targeted in USADA's investigation will be made available on the agency's website later on Wednesday.

Two other players in the Postal team's circle, Dr. Michele Ferrari and Dr. Garcia del Moral, also received lifetime bans as part of the case.

Three other members of the USPS Team will take their cases to arbitration. They are team director Johan Bruyneel, team doctor Pedro Celaya and team trainer Jose 'Pepe' Marti.

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