Levi Leipheimer has been sacked by Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
The 38-year-old American was last week handed a six-month ban by USADA following an investigation into organised doping on the US Postal team.
Leipheimer rode for the Lance Armstrong-led US Postal in 2000 and 2001, but admitted to the USADA enquiry that he had doped before and since with teams including Rabobank, Geroslteiner and with the now defunct Discovery Channel team, managed by Johan Bruyneel.
OPQS general manager, Patrick Lefevre, told reporters last week that Leipheimer had not mentioned his past when joining the team and said an internal enquiry would be held to determine his future.
Tonight, the team issued a statement commending Leipheimer for his cooperation with USADA’s enquiry, but ending their association with him.
“Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 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 10th of October the team has decided to terminate the contract.
“This decision has the full support of the team owner, the board represented by Mr Bessel Kok and team manager Mr Patrick Lefevere.”
Last week, USADA published a document of more than 1,000 pages detailing its ‘reasoned decision’ behind the six-month ban handed to Leipheimer, and to censures against 10 other riders, including Lance Armstrong.
The document included an ‘acceptance of sanction’ statement from Leipheimer, which read:
“I, Levi Leipheimer, accept the following sanction as a result of my doping offenses for my use of the prohibited substances EPO and testosterone and the use of prohibited blood transfusions.
“I used prohibited substances and/or prohibited methods during 2000 and 2001 while a member of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, during 2002 through 2004 while on the Rabobank Cycling Team, during 2005 and 2006 while on the Gerolsteiner Cycling Team and during 2007 while a member of the Discovery Channel Cycling Team.”
He has been stripped of all results recorded between 1999 and 2007, which include four top 10 finishes at the Tour de France between 2002 and 2007. His best result in a Grand Tour, second in the 2008 Vuelta a Espana, stands.
Leipheimer staged an online petition in a bid to gain entry to the 2008 Tour de France after the ASO decided not to invite his Astana team. The ‘Let Levi Ride’ campaign claimed Leipheimer was the victim of injustice.
While OPQS has enjoyed a highly successful 2012, Leipheimer suffered a setaback after breaking his leg when knocked off his bike by a car on the eve of the Tour of the Basque Country.
He had begun the season with overall victory in the Tour de San Luis, and later finished on the final podium of the Tour de Suisse and USA Pro Cycling Challenging, and sixth overall in both the Tour of California and Tour of Utah.
Leipheimer has made no statement since his sacking to the nearly 150,000 people who follow his Twitter account.