The leader of the French Anti-Doping Agency, Bruno Genevois, said that, ‘‘If the report is solid, this proves that no sportsman, no matter what his notoriety, is sheltered from anti-doping legislation.’’
An Italian prosecutor, meanwhile, said Dr. Michele Ferrari — the man USADA says helped organize Armstrong’s doping regimen — could face charges in a criminal investigation that’s nearing completion in that country.
One of Armstrong’s most steadfast critics, Betsy Andreu, said she was grateful to USADA for not caving under political pressure to give up on the investigation. The pressure only grew stronger after federal investigators shut down their criminal probe in February.
‘‘On one hand, it’s a sad day for the sport, but on the other hand, it’s an absolutely fantastic day for the sport,’’ said Andreu, who became a target of Armstrong’s after testifying she heard him confess to using PEDs while in the hospital for cancer treatment in the 1990s. ‘‘Because it shows the choices you make today, you'll face consequences for them tomorrow. And no matter how big you are, how much money you make or how big a celebrity you are, you'll be held accountable. I'm grateful for that.’’
Also in the report was a list of reduced sanctions USADA handed out to riders whose testimony helped build the report.
George Hincapie, Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and Zabriskie all would have received at least two-year sanctions had they not helped USADA with its case. Instead, they got six months and were told to withdraw themselves from consideration for the 2012 Olympic team.
USA Cycling announced Thursday the cyclists had accepted their punishments. CEO Steve Johnson said he wanted to ‘‘acknowledge the extraordinary courage of these riders who placed their careers on the line in order to come forward with their experiences of past doping practices.’’
The man who led the anti-doping investigation, USADA CEO Travis Tygart, has often spoken of the same motivation and he has paid a price to come this far. He previously said he was the target of death threats; he has been a constant target of Armstrong and his attorneys, who have called his mission a ‘‘witch hunt’’ and worse.
Tygart was traveling Thursday and did not respond to interview requests from The Associated Press.