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 88.

    Until 2000 there was no test for EPO. In 2005 a test of an Armstrong sample from the 1999 TdF found EPO. He said the test was not reliable.
    In 2008 it was proposed to re-test his 1998 and 1999 TdF samples. Armstrong declined, saying the samples had not been stored properly - even though the lab said that they had.
    Armstrong fought all previous claims - so why back down now if he is innocent?

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    (second part) Then came EPO. Scientists needed 12 or 13 years to find how to detect it. The whole 90's were plagued by EPO. Armstrong took EPO in 1999, it's a well-known fact. He wasn't stripped of his victory because test was done way out of time in 2004 or 2005.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Hopefully the lack of a trial circumvents the bribery/immunity deals for "the 10" and they will now have to face their own doping charges in the clear light of a courtroom.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    USADA seems to suffer from a "holier than thou syndrome" The man was a champion for 7 years on the go. What are they trying to prove to discredit him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    If you strip him of his titles who are you going to award them to? Many of the cyclists who finished behind him have also been convicted of doping.

    Do we go after the East German athletes from the 70s and 80s and strip them there titles..... No because they aren't as high profile.

    Whatever the outcome I hope we remember him for the work he has done for his charity, which should be applauded.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Well,in this country an accused man has the right to see the evidence put before him.So the UCI should put up or shut up.Personally I don't see how anyone could have undergone the drugtesting scrutiny that a multiple Tour champion would have,and not tested positive at some point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    The Americans do seem to like a witch hunt, it may have more to do with the career path of the head of the drugs enforcement agency than it does with Lance - perhaps is face doesn't fit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    I'm afraid many people here lack information. Drugs have been used since dawn of cycling races. 1923 winner Pelissier confessed to Albert Londres (The Convicts of the Road). In 1955 Mallejac almost died during Ventoux stage. Twelve years later Simpson actually died at the same place. Many past champions admitted drug abuse. (to be continued)

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Although I am disappointed in Lance's decision, and was hoping to see these allegations thrown out, I can totally understand why he would choose to walk away rather than keep expending the energy to fight.

    My one little hope, is the UCI decide to ignore the USADA, and don't take his title's away

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    I just dont get the USADA's approach on this one. At the very least, IF he was doping then it was at a time when EVERYONE was doping and so it was a level playing field and he sill won. But he has never failed a test and he has now retired as one of the most respected athletes not including the millions he raised for charity. To me this is simply a withc hunt driven by a very personal agenda!

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    To me this case (and the lot of other same history) point the light to the (worng) functioning of the international AD (anti dopping) Industry, which seems to move by interests of money and not the clearing of sport.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Armstrong claims an injustice yet he wont fight for justice. Obviously the USADA have something concrete if they were prepared to go for the jugular with Armstrong which would have been made public at any hearing. And as for the contributors that say that it is pure malice please note that Armstrong has waived the right to a fair trial and the known evidence against him APPEARS to be damning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    I too believe Armstrong is innocent. The man has been tested so many times and has never failed. I wish he would continue to fight these allegations, especially as the UCI are apparently backing him against the USADA. The so called 'teammates' are pointing a finger just to save their own skins and serve shorter bans.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Dont like the wording of his statement. My only hope is that the immunity deals for "the 10" are now invalid and that they will all have to face the light of a courtroom for their own doping offences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    I always despair at the amount of coverage given to sports in the media.

    One of the worst things is listening to so-called grown-up commentators work themselves up into virtual hysteria at the sight of someone running or cycling a bit faster than someone else.

    I actually hope Armstrong is guilty. Maybe it will make sports fanatics see sense and grow up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    How many of US medals winners in last Olympics are drug cheaters? Can anybody be sure?
    Marion Jones won & award the gold at Sydney (with all the testing) and letter it was withdrawn. How many athletes may retire after winning gold at Olympic, before we find them as cheaters? Is there a method/audit for us to do testing after athletes retire?

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    I came across Lance Armstrong after I suffered the same illness, It would be a massive disappointment if he had been found guilty but despite him quitting the fight to prove he is innocent I still believe "innocent till proven guilty. One question that should be asked is how does a big organisation take this long to come up with allegations!

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    So much misinformation here its difficult to know where to start!
    Let's begin with the "never failed a test" fallacy:

    1- There is no definitive test for EPO usage, the effects of EPO last beyond the point when it can be detected.
    2- There is no test for autologous blood transfusions (reinjecting your own blood that you have had stored)

    Many riders who never failed a test have since admitted EPO

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    The USADA intends to send the strongest message possible, in part because many testing procedures such as those of the UCI (and the MLB here in the US), can be circumvented. It remains to be seen how history will view Armstrong. Hopefully the foundation will survive unscathed. Strange to toss in the towel; this from a man known to fight. Dopers be aware...or be weary says the USADA. Sad day.


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