The name to remember is Jeff Novitzky. Not to be confused with Dirk Nowitzki, who is a different type of badass entirely.
Novitzky, the lead investigator in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative steroids case, is in charge of the fraud case and is trying to determine whether Armstrong, the owners or managers of his former cycling teams and his teammates had conspired to defraud their sponsors by doping to improve their performances and garner more money and prizes. Specifically, authorities want to know whether money from the Postal Service, the main sponsor of Armstrong’s team from 1996 to 2004, was used to buy performance-enhancing drugs.
In the Balco investigation, the authorities initially targeted those who dealt and sold the performance-enhancing drugs — not the end users. Nearly all the people who have admitted to crimes and cooperated with Novitzky have avoided prison time. Only those athletes thought to have lied under oath have been charged.
This guy means business. And he is not going away any time soon.
George Hincapie (BMC) and Tyler Hamilton are among the riders who have been asked to cooperate with the federal investigation into doping practices in American cycling at large and the US Postal Service team in particular, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The criminal investigation, led by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) special agent Jeff Novitzky, is focused principally around Floyd Landis’ recent allegations of systematic doping practices at the US Postal Service team.
Read the rest: cyclingnews.com.
The article does a good job of laying out the issue at hand. This is going to be a very big deal for people like Johan Bruyneel.
Meanwhile, it is also reported that Tyler Hamilton is among the riders who has been approached by Novitzky. Hamilton rode for US Postal from 1995 to 2001, and was in 2004 the first rider to test positive for the type of blood doping outlined in Floyd Landis’ allegations.
Hamilton responded by e-mail to Wall Street Journal reporters’ questions, saying “I am aware that there is an investigation of other people in progress, and if I am subpoenaed to provide information, I will provide my full cooperation.”
The US Postal Service team was essentially funded by the American taxpayer. Therefore, any evidence that such money was used in a fraudulent manner, such as to implement a systematic doping programme, could have serious repercussions, particularly for those in positions of authority. Id.
Bruyneel may be used to a somewhat laissez-faire approach to doping rule enforcement (i.e., throwing money at a problem to make it go away). But, this is going to be different. I do not expect an rapid explosion of revelations followed by as seemingly endless slog across a muddy field of play, like we saw in Operación Puerto. This will be more of a slow boil, as information is gathered and organized through interviews and depositions. It will come to a head eventually. And when it does, it is going to be very interesting.by