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Oct 11, 2012 6:40 PM by Andy Koen

USA Cycling CEO says doping scandal was kept hidden

COLORADO SPRINGS - USA Cycling President and CEO Steve Johnson said the highly publicized doping scandal surrounding seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was well concealed, even from him and the rest of the members of the governing body.

USA Cycling has a zero tolerance policy with respect to performance enhancing drugs. However, Johnson said the document release from the US Anti-Doping Agency investigation Wednesday was the first time he'd actually learned the doping was happening.

"This is the first time we've heard the detailed evidence, actually," Johnson said.

Of course, he'd heard the media reports.  However, Johnson said he previously had no evidence to prove the abuse even existed.

"The reality is there were no positive tests associated with any of these riders. Really, this entire case has been adjudicated based on eye-witness testimony which is very unusual."

Five current members of USA Cycling were among those giving eye-witness testimony. They admitted to using drugs with Armstrong and said were encouraged to do so by both Armstrong and the team's doctors. They will be stripped of any titles they earned during the doping years and are currently suspended until February.

Johnson called the riders who testified brave for risking their careers to uncover the truth. He also said new advances in technology like the biological passport are keeping the sport clean.

"I'm very confident that these institutionalized practices no longer exist and that the playing field is more level than it has ever been.

By design, USA Cycling and all of the other national governing bodies do not police themselves. All drug testing and sanctions come from the US Anti-Doping Agency, the World Anti-Doping Agency and International Cycling Union.

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