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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  • Comment number 148.

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

  • Comment number 147.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 146.

    As a keen cyclist and fan of Lance I am dismayed at this outcome. However, I think the best way forward is for a court to examine ALL the evidence and come to a conclusion. An intelligent judge will usually see their way through a case like this.
    For personal reasons I would like this so that I can decide whether to continue my affection for Lance and his remarkable achievements

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 145.

    Unbelievable the number of people saying USADA have no proof! Of course they have proof, that's why they have charged him. They have 10 witnesses. They have his failed tests in 09/10. By not contesting the charges it means these details will never be srutinised. You can go round in circles as to why UCI dropped the case etc. The fact is he's been charged, tried to get the case dropped & failed.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 144.

    This is absolutely criminal! There is no evidence to suggest that he ever doped; only conjecture by former teamates. A similar situation would be if the Jamaican sprint team all acused usain bolt of doping & he was charged on that basis alone. Armstrong has never failed a drugs test! He will always be Lance Armstring: cancer survivor & 7 time winner of the Tour de France.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 143.

    I am as confused as others seem to be about the evidence and facts of this case - Has he been proven guilty or not? Guilty, then he and his consirators deserve hounding and the real winners of the tours should be honored for their achievements. Not guilty then his tormentors should be exposed for public ridicule in the way that Lance Armstrong has.

  • Comment number 142.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 141.

    In the criminal justice system you are innocent until proven guilty - shame the same is not true in this case.

    Never faild a drugs test.

    Some people said he did it

    Assumed guilty - Guilty until proven innocent?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 140.

    . . . how can he prove his innocence? only blood tests can determine doping or not doping and since any tests taken during his career all returned negative, they can only rely on hearsay, which is not acceptable in a real court

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 139.

    I am not condoning doping but Armstrong could not have gained an unfair advantage as most other cyclist were up to the same thing. If they strip him of his titles who are they going to give it to?, the top 5 riders from each of his tour wins are all convicted!

    Hes the only one never to have failed a test! Even if he had of persued and won I still dont thing the USADA would have left it alone.

  • Comment number 138.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 137.

    19. says that Lance should: 'prove his innocence'... 500 tests in his professional career, 500 negative ... what more do you want !!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 136.

    As an Armstrong fan, being influenced by him and his training methods it would be a huge disappointment to me if he were to be proved a cheat. But that's the thing - PROVED. Maybe he is sick to the back teeth of defending himself from rumours and is rising above it.

    One things for sure... Advancing detection techniques will catch a cheat eventually, even if years later, from stored samples.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 135.

    The USADA doesnt have jurisdiction over this case period

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 134.

    So what if they ban him and strip him of his titles? With tens of millions in the bank I'm sure he has many ways to enjoy himself.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 133.

    Let me start by saying that he passed the drug tests at the time, and now the accusations after the fact are based on what? Testimony and witness statements? Can these statements be proven to be any more true?

    That said - I would much rather HYS on the Samsung/Apple ruling...

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 132.

    Please read the comments of the WADA chief John Fahey:

    "There are 10 riders and several other witnesses with evidence (against him).
    "There can be no other interpretation. To refuse the charges can only leave the interpretation that he is a cheat."

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 131.

    Sl1mj1m
    "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."

    Maybe he can't "prove" innocence hence why he's given up. All the evidence will be revealed eventually and hopfully cycling can move on from the sorry era epitomised by Armstrong.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 130.

    It is beyond credibility that an innocent man who has achieved what he has would "give up" fighting to preserve the record of the most important aspect of his life. How can he work on his other work with integrity while such accusations are looming? This is not one disgruntled former friend making these accusations about one event in his life.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 129.

    I think a few people posting fail to understand that innuendo & supposition don't constitute evidence. Knowing what we know now about Armstrong's competitors its likely that he did use EPO but there is no actual proof and the USADA have no proof either as their case is based on witness statements rather than scientific analysis.

    Also I can understand why Armstrong wants no part of a witch hunt.

 

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