A former U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team employee, who acted as assistant to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, said on Thursday that doping was so prevalent in the 1990s that it was not even seen as cheating.
Emma O'Reilly who worked as a soigneur, or masseuse, to the team, and Lance Armstrong in particular in 1999, submitted damning evidence to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which sent its findings to the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) this week.
O'Reilly was asked what events put up "red flags" that members of the team were involved in doping.
USADA said in August it was stripping Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and giving him a life-time ban after he opted not to fight the agency's doping charges.
O'Reilly said that at the time doping was just known by the code words of "medical programme".
When she was asked why picture frames were removed from walls in a hotel room, O'Reilly replied: "Because you could hang your drip from the hook that had the picture in the hotel room; because usually it's a picture over your bed."
Initially O'Reilly refused to be involved in "medical programmes" but she became involved during the 1999 Tour de France, according to her evidence to USADA and her interview on Thursday.
She said that Armstrong had tested positive for corticosteroid and a plan was hatched to explain it away.
She confirmed that the prescription had been fabricated to cover the test result.
The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding".
O'Reilly said that the character of the riders changed as they became more and more enmeshed in doping and the concealment of the blood transfusions necessary to improve performance.
Asked if Armstrong had been the ringleader of the use of performance enhancing drugs, O'Reilly replied:
The British newspaper The Sunday Times subsequently published testimony by O'Reilly among others relating to Armstrong and doping. Armstrong, who subsequently competed for the Astana and Radio Shack cycle teams, sued and settled for an out-of-court settlement.
The Sunday Times, according to the British newspaper Press Gazette, is reviewing the terms of its settlement after Armstrong was stripped of his titles.