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

    Comment number 128.

    This has been no whispering campaign, he has been asked to defend himself against charges of doping. Clearly he thinks he will not be stripped of his TdF titles and would rather not have so many people publicy out him so has decided not to defend himself.
    In a sport which had sooooo many drug cheats in that era for him to have been so hugely successfull surely demands people investigate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    Unfortunately, doping rules don't work upon the basis of "innocent until proven guilty". Once your sample comes back positive, you can argue that you didn't intend to dope and come up with a reason why the substance is there (and at best, have a reduced sanction), or you don't fight it and you're assume to have taken something deliberately. Strict liability applies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    This whole thing smells of a set up.. How is it that some accusations can be upheld several years after the alleged event took place? Where is the evidence? Has the mob got so much power that words are simply enough to drag a man's name into the mud without evidence; based on some elaborate story? I don't understand how this can happen.. Can somebody please explain...?

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Oh well if he had been judged guilty in court many would still think innocent or it doesn't matter, and if judged innocent many wouldn't believe it. The whole thing is pointless and I'm no big fan of him - though love cycling.

  • Comment number 124.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    Comment number 19. Sl1mj1m
    Comment number 19 is an Editors' Pick
    2 Hours ago

    I'd like to think Lance is innocent, I was and still am a huge fan. I understand his decision to quit fighting as 'enough is enough', but I wish he would prove his innocence for cycling fans sake."

    Editor's pick????

    No one can 'prove' a negetive,,, except the hundreds of tests passed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    "...but I wish he would prove his innocence for cycling fans sake."

    In life, you never need to prove your innocence since it may be impossible to prove an absence of guilt. Anyway, it's not necessary. Accusers must always prove you guilty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    ha ha, ha ha ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    It's not possible to prove non-existence. Why doesn't USADA come up with an evidence - a diagnostic test result that's clinically valid rather than using witnesses when there's always the possibility that witnesses can make mistakes. One cannot also ask Lance to prove he is innocent other than by proving that the witnesses are incorrect in some way or on a technicality of the whole process.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    There needs to be a statute of limitations on doping accusations. How would we all feel if Brad was told in 12yrs time that a urine sample he had giving in this year's tour was found to be doped? No problem in finding real cheats, but if they can't produce results within one month of the end of a race, that should be it. This highlights how flawed the current anti-doping processes are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    If LA didn't dope, his achievements were amazing. If he did, he did when that kind of rule bending was commonplace ... and to win seven times was still amazing. I couldn't really care less which it was. It was a different era. He passed all the tests they had. The book should have been closed long ago. Testimony from riders who have made deals to save their own skins? Please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    innocent until proven guilty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    I personally think he is guilty. An inspiration he may have been to many, but none the less a cheat is a cheat. He was portrayed and supposed to be a man of extrodinary character and great courage.

    If I was accused and I was innocent I would never ever give in, I would fight to restore my reputation supposing it took the rest of my life. I believe he gave in because he knows he's guilty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    7 titles or no 7 titles, this guy's biggest achievement is coming out from a 33% chance of living and showing the true extent the human body can be pushed - a proper legend

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    He is a superb sportsman who has never failed a drugs test.
    Its a witch hunt of the worst kind carried out by saddos, which he certainly doesn't deserve.
    It's a sad day all round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Would the USADA kindly look into a case on my behalf? I have long held deep suspicion that William was drugged to the eyeballs on Senlac Hill in 1066. Please cancel the result and give the crown to Harold. Of course this means all claimants to the throne of England since that date are invalid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    I wonder if the US will similarly hound all the US Athletes who have turned in medal winning performances at the Olympics and World Championships over the years?

    I really don't think the USADA can take away Olympic Medals or TDF winning places. They don't have the power, but they certainly have the ego.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Im 55, if it hadnt been for LA and Eurosport team (sorry BBC youre very late) I wouldnt have returned to enjoying active Cycling as i did in my youth. At the moment theres no evidence, only hearsay. This whole case has damaged WADA, USADA and the UCI. Apparently LA was full of drugs - no proof. And Alberto Contador had so little yet got a ban. Too much heat and no Light, this will get messy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    to all those saying its wrong for him to give up, if you feel so strongly about it, why dont you dedicate the next few years of your life working with him to fight for justice. spend all your money, give no time for your family etc...... will you???

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn't have anything to regret for the rest of their life. But good luck to you Lance. I'm sure this decision won't haunt you forever.


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