Lance Armstrong drops doping appeals, will be banned from cycling and stripped of all of his Tour de France victories
For years, Lance Armstrong, often considered the best professional cyclist ever, has been battling and appealing accusations of doping. Last night, the news came through that he will not fight the charges from the USADA of doping, which results in a lifetime cycling ban and the loss of every single one of his seven Tour de France victories.
USADA confimed late Thursday it will strip him of all results since Aug. 1, 1998 and ban him from all competition for life. Armstrong said his decision did not mean he would accept USADA’s sanctions. His lawyers threatened a lawsuit if USADA proceeded, arguing the agency must first resolve a dispute with the International Cycling Union over whether the case should be pursued.
“It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. “This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition.”
In walking away, the 40-year-old Armstrong cited a familiar defense: he has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He said his decision is not an admission of guilt, but a choice to devote more time to his family and his Livestrong foundation for cancer survivors. Armstrong overcame advanced cancer just a few years before his string of Tour de France victories.
“I know who won those seven Tours,” Armstrong said in a statement. “The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially Travis Tygart.”
Armstrong said he will “commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities.”
Armstrong is not admitting he has used any performance enhancing drugs. He has called the USADA’s search a “witch hunt”, and has submitted to every blood and urine test, whenever asked. At one point, he tried to get federal courts to intervene into USADA’s proceedings, and they said it was out of their jurisdiction.
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