AP Sports Writer
POSTED: 5:35 a.m. HST, Jul 11, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas >> With Lance Armstrong digging in for a legal fight, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued lifetime sports bans Tuesday to three former staff members and consultants on the cyclist's winning Tour de France teams for drug violations.
Luis Garcia del Moral was a team doctor; Michele Ferrari was a consulting doctor; and Jose "Pepe" Marti (team trainer) worked for Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel squads. All had been accused by USADA of participating in a vast doping conspiracy on those teams during part or all of Armstrong's seven Tour victories from 1999-2005.
Armstrong also has been charged and has declared his innocence.
Several hours after USADA announced its sanctions against the others, Armstrong's attorneys refiled a lawsuit asking a federal judge in Austin to prevent the case against from going forward.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks had thrown out Armstrong's initial 80-page complaint Monday, but invited him to submit a new one that was shorter, more to the point and less about his career and personal battles with anti-doping officials.
Armstrong's attorneys refiled a 25-page suit arguing that USADA violates athletes' constitutional rights, that the agency doesn't have the jurisdiction to bring the charges and that it may have violated federal law in its investigation.
Armstrong wants the court to rule by Saturday, his deadline to either accept USADA's charges and sanctions or send his case to arbitration.
An Armstrong spokesman declined immediate comment on the USADA bans issued Tuesday.
Under USADA rules, Moral, Marti and Ferrari had until Monday to challenge the allegations against them in arbitration or ask for a five-day extension. If they did not respond, USADA could impose sanctions.