No riders banned in Armstrong case

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Jonathan_Vaughters AFP Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda Director Jonathan Vaughters.

Rouen, France – Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda manager Jonathan Vaughters has dismissed a report claiming he and team members agreed to accept suspended bans to testify against Lance Armstrong in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) case.

On Thursday, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf named Garmin Tour de France riders Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie, and two other American cyclists on other teams, as agreeing to give evidence in exchange for delayed six-month bans.

"No 6 mos (months) suspensions have been given to any member of (Garmin) Slipstream Sports. Today or at any future date," Vaughters wrote on his Twitter account prior to the fifth stage of the Tour de France.

When asked by reporters if he had testified, the former professional cyclist refused to comment.

Last month, the Usada unanimously recommended filing formal doping charges against seven-times Tour de France winner Armstrong, who is now retired and denies any wrongdoing.

The Usada said it had at least 10 former teammates and colleagues of the American who were willing to testify that he used performance-enhancing drugs between 1999 and 2005, according to a letter posted online by the Washington Post.

When contacted by Reuters, the Usada was not available for comment.

All riders mentioned by De Telegraaf were teammates of Armstrong, who never rode for Garmin but raced for Motorola, Cofidis, Discovery Channel, U.S. Postal, Astana and RadioShack.

Vaughters rode with Armstrong at U.S. Postal before retiring and setting up the Slipstream Sports team, which has since evolved into Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, with an emphasis on taking a strong stance against doping in the sport.

On Wednesday, they team fired Danish rider Alex Rasmussen, who was banned for 18 months for violating the anti-doping 'whereabouts' rule. – Reuters


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