American cyclist Levi Leipheimer has been sacked by Omega Pharma-QuickStep after admitting to doping while a team-mate of Lance Armstrong.
Leipheimer was one of 11 riders who testified against Armstrong to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who have accused the United States Postal Service team of running “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.
A statement issued by Omega Pharma-Quick-Step read: “Omega Pharma-QuickStep Cycling Team announces that the contract with Mr Leipheimer has been terminated, effective immediately.
“We commend the rider for his open co-operation with USADA and contribution to cleaning up the sport of cycling. However, in the light of the disclosures made by Mr Leipheimer in his public statement on October 10, the team has decided to terminate the contract.’’
Leipheimer accepted a six-month ban from USADA and was last week placed on “non-active status’’, effectively suspended, by his Belgian team.
The 38-year-old was a team-mate of Armstrong’s at US Postal in 2000 and 2001, at Astana when the Texan made his comeback in 2009 and at Team RadioShack in 2010.
Leipheimer joined Omega Pharma-QuickStep from RadioShack for the 2012 season, but is now without an employer. Four times he has finished in the Tour de France top 10, including third in 2007 while riding for Discovery Channel.
Leipheimer’s departure could allow Omega Pharma-QuickStep to sign Briton Mark Cavendish, if the 2011 world champion can negotiate an exit from Team Sky.
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