The Lance Armstrong doping scandal continued to reverberate through cycling on Tuesday as an independent panel levied stiff penalties against three staff members from his former team.
Team director Johan Bruyneel was banned from the sport for 10 years, according to a statement from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Team doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose "Pepe" Marti were suspended for eight years.
“There is no excuse for any team director, doctor or other athlete support person who corrupts the very sport and the athletes they are supposed to protect,” said Travis T. Tygart, USADA's chief executive.
Armstrong has confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his record-setting career. Officials have stripped him of seven Tour de France titles and an Olympic medal.
There has been speculation in recent months that his lifetime ban could be reduced if he cooperates with authorities who continue to investigate widespread drug use in cycling.
Bruyneel, Celaya and Marti had their cases heard by the American Arbitration Assn., which found that “Mr. Bruyneel was at the apex of a conspiracy to commit widespread doping on the USPS and Discovery Channel teams spanning many years and many riders. Similarly, Dr. Celaya and Mr. Martí were part of, or at least allowed themselves to be used as instruments of, that conspiracy.”
In a statement posted on his website, Bruyneel expressed regret about "certain elements" of his career.
"However, a very small minority of us has been used as scapegoats for an entire generation," he said. "There is clearly something wrong with a system that allows only six individuals to be punished as retribution for the sins of an era."
Two additional Armstrong associates -- Dr. Michele Ferrari of Italy and Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral of Spain -- previously received lifetime suspensions.
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