Lance Armstrong ends fight against doping charges

 

Lance Armstrong spoke about the drug allegations in February 2011

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US cycling star Lance Armstrong has announced he will no longer fight drug charges from the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), ahead of a Friday deadline.

In a statement, the 40-year-old maintains he is innocent, but says he is weary of the "nonsense" accusations.

The USADA now says it will ban Armstrong from cycling for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong retired from professional sport in 2011.

USADA alleges he used banned substances as far back as 1996, including the blood-booster EPO, steroid and blood transfusions.

Armstrong sued in federal court to block the charges but lost.

'Heartbreaking' case

"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say: 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," Armstrong said in the statement.

Lance Armstrong factfile

  • Born: Plano, Texas
  • Teams: Motorola, Cofidis, US Postal, Discovery Channel, Livestrong, Astana, Team RadioShack
  • Tour de France: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 (22 individual stage wins)
  • World Championships road race: 1993
  • Battle with cancer: Diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996. The disease spreads through his body. Launches Lance Armstrong Foundation for Cancer. Declared cancer-free in 1997 after brain surgery and chemotherapy.
  • Retirement: Announces he will retire after the 2005 Tour de France, which he wins. Angered by drug allegations against him, Armstrong announces in September 2008 he will return to professional cycling. In June 2010, he reveals via Twitter that the 2010 Tour de France will be his last. On 16 February 2011, Armstrong announces he will retire again.

"I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999.

"Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by [USADA chief executive] 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."

Armstrong had been given until 06:00 GMT on Friday to decide whether to continue fighting the USADA charges.

The agency has said that 10 of Armstrong's former team-mates are prepared to testify against him.

The cyclist has accused USADA of offering "corrupt inducements" to other riders.

USADA also accuses Armstrong of being a "ring-leader" of systematic doping on his Tour de France winning teams.

How does blood doping work?

Mr Tygart said shortly after Armstrong's statement that his agency would ban Armstrong from cycling for life and strip him of his titles, according to AP.

"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," he said.

"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."

However, Armstrong disputed that the USADA has the power to take away his titles.

"USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges," his statement said.

The cycling governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI) - which had backed Armstrong's challenge to challenge USADA's authority - has so far made no public comments on the latest developments.

The BBC's cycling correspondent, Simon Brotherton, said the move was unusual for Armstrong but would deny USADA the chance to directly put their evidence to him.

Though Armstrong is not admitting guilt, our correspondent adds, most people will assume that there is some kind of admission, given he is not contesting the charges when his legacy is on the line.

Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer prior to his record-breaking Tour wins, retired after the 2005 Tour de France but made a comeback in 2009.

He retired for a second time in February 2011.

He now says he will be focusing on the work with his cancer charity.

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 48.

    The principle of innocent until proven guilty applies. If the evidence isnt clear and the USADA continues to hound Lance why should he continue the farce? Charge him and share the evidence or drop the case and move on.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 47.

    What's this? America getting involved in something in another country over which they have no actual jurisdiction? Sounds dangerously familiar doesn't it?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 46.

    If you're innocent, wouldn't you fight to the end? Now, there will always be those who will question his real achievements. Like me.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 44.

    these people have hounded him for years to promote their own agenda, what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty and how can anyone give credence to evidence from people who were caught doping and lying and now their evidence is believable. Until they can provide concrete proof and not the lies and rumours of jealous competitors who have been caught doping then he is innocent.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 43.

    I'm no chemist,but how does some one avoid detection/banning over a period of 7 Tours etc.
    Or in the same parallel universe as we wont be allowed to comment on it by HYS,how does Breivik only get "at least 21 years",if ever the key needed to be thrown away!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 42.

    USADA has no jurisdiction to "strip" him of his Tour wins. Only the UCI and the Tour organisation can do that. This whole thing stinks to the highest heaven. My heart willl break if he did dope in any way, but I don't see how he can pass over 500 drug tests, never failing even one, and still be accused of consistent doping across a decade.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 41.

    Difficult to know what to believe, and disappointed that he is giving up but who can blame him?
    Fact remains that he has never failed a test...
    Find it hard to believe that these 'testimonies' bought with promises of leniency off of his teammates who admit they are dopers themselves could be admissable...

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 40.

    This is not justice if Armstrong is gulity he did not act in insolation. If the the wider conspirators are not named then it is a witch hunt. Those who are pointing the finger need to be named and they also need to be judged on whether the broke the rules. No one has explained how he could have passed the large number of tests he underwent. Will we ever know the truth

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 39.

    I feel very flat about this, I've supported Lance ever since he returned from fighting off cancer to win his first TdF and found him very inspirational. I have always had faith in his claim of innocence and hoped that he would be able to close down these allegations. If it's true that he did dope, we need the UCI to take a firm and final stance on this issue-not 2 year bans,but Life. A deterrent.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 37.

    What ever happened to the thought of being innocent until proven guilty? I've seen no proof yet, just malice amongst those who couldn't contend with his exceptional talent.
    I for one will continue to support him & will wear the Livestrong band with pride.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 36.

    Another example of US 'authorities' harassing someone without offering them the chance of a trial before their peers.

    If they had evidence, they should have prosecuted. A wispering campaign is not justice for anyone nor for the sport.
    At least he wasn't dragged away in the dead of night for waterboarding to extract a confession.

    No-one listens to the seppos anymore - least of all the French!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 35.

    I'm curious what this achieves now so many years on other than erase a decade of the sport. It's a disgrace that the word of Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis (convicted dopers) gets more airtime/headlines than the word of a cyclist who passed some 500-600 tests.

    Curious to see what USADA go after now - I'm guessing they'll not be able to strip him of his titles otherwise he'd have fought on.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 34.

    To win 7 tours clean, in a drug ridden sport.He was either the greatest sportsman of all time or the best drugs cheat, only he knows for sure.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 33.

    There was no way he could be proved innocent even if he contested the charges so what's the point? Thankfully the UCI are on his side and so he won't be stripped of his TdF titles.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 32.

    Refreshing to see that McCarthyism is alive and well in the Good Ol' USofA. The old ways are the best. Why let the truth get in the way of a political agenda.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 31.

    If he's passed every drugs test its up to the US doping authorities to PROVE he's guilty, not simply make accusations.

    Anyone can claim they have evidence (and often do) but when its tested in a court the evidence can fall apart.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 29.

    I think the real fans of cycling who know the number of drugs tests he has passed and the length of time over which he has passed all drugs tests would never not see him as a 7 time tour winning legend even if they took his wins off the record. He's done so much work for charity, used his fame for good causes and it's time he was left alone.

 

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