Lance Armstrong ends fight against doping charges
Austin, TX (Sports Network) - Lance Armstrong has ended his fight against the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and on Friday he'll be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
Armstrong, through his website, released a lengthy statement Thursday night saying, "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now."
Media reports indicate Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, will strip Armstrong of his seven championships at the Tour de France on Friday and would issue a lifetime ban.
"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," Tygart said in a statement Thursday night. "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, but for clean athletes, it is a reassuring reminder that there is hope for future generations to compete on a level playing field without the use of performance-enhancing drugs."
The 40-year-old Armstrong has consistently denied he used performance- enhancing substances. He won the Tour de France from 1999-2005.
"I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999," Armstrong wrote. "Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today -- finished with this nonsense."
On Monday, a federal judge dismissed Armstrong's lawsuit against USADA.
"If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA's process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and - once and for all - put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance," Armstrong said. "But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?"
Armstrong and five other people, including three team doctors and two team officials formerly associated with the United States Postal Service team, were sent a letter by USADA in June, informing them that the agency had evidence they engaged in doping from 1998 to the present.
It accused Armstrong of using, attempting to use or possessing EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents and says blood samples from 2009 and '10 show data that is "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions."
At the time, USADA said Armstrong distributed and administered drugs to others, a charge consistent with what some former teammates have said publicly in the past.
Armstrong said that the investigation by USADA hasn't been about learning the truth, but instead has been about punishing him at all costs.
"I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation," Armstrong said. "As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges. The international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate in USADA's improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are made without authority. And as many others, including USADA's own arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process.
"The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It's an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It's just not right."
At the end of his statement, Armstrong said instead of addressing the doping allegations, he will focus on his work from his foundation, which has raised nearly $500 million for cancer survivors.
08/24 01:57:02 ET