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
    -2

    Comment number 68.

    As,if he was using drugs that were not detected at the time,perhaps other were doing the same.I am not a cycle enthusiast but did enjoy the cycling during the Olympics,this will mean I will not have any interest in cycling in the future.And to all those saying the Olympics (all non football sports) showed football how to be sportsman like,well there you go,football is cleaner then cycling

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 66.

    MegaSpur, the USADA have evidence of him failing several tests in 09/10,that's why they they are charging him. Add to that they have around 10 people willing to testify against him under oath, including his best mate (one or two might be vindictive, but 10, and his best mate, really?!). Marion denied charges under oath and went to Jail, she never failed a drugs test either. Lance is smarter.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 65.

    Whether he is guilty or not this almost doesn't matter. This has gone on for so long that there will always be doubts either way and Armstrong will now also berevered for his fight against US "Justice".

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 64.

    What a disgrace, here we have a man who has passed every single drugs test he's been asked to undertake who has been hounded firstly by a French press who hated his guts and were only interested in a witch hunt. This has then been taken on by his home countries governing body.

    It now seems they will try to strip him of all his titles

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 63.

    This is such a shame for the sport and quite possibly for Armstrong himself. There are no winners here. It strikes me that it is the system that has failed. If they can't detect drugs, even after repeated testing, one has to assume he is technically clean. How many others are in the same category? All this does in undermine our enjoyment of the sport and confidence in the organisers.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 62.

    Lance almost never quits. This time around, he knows the game is up. Armstrong is probably going into Texas politics, it's best if none of the evidence is a 'matter of record' one would assume.

    David Walsh must be having a large brandy this morning.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 61.

    surely only the UCI has the authority to strip LA of his titles??
    presumably they will now investigate Marco Pantani and Jan Ulrich with the same vigour??

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 60.

    @14.DanAbnormal
    I presume the first two posters have some sort of indisputable proof that he's never used banned substances?

    thats a witch hunt argument, do you have any indisputable evidence you are not a witch? No then you must be one

    @15 read it more carefully, they appear not to be saying he failed tests but saying tests don't rule out the possibility

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 59.

    Hearsay evidence is hardly sufficient if empirical testing shows otherwise, but of course this is not a court of law, just another self important US regulator dictating their personal vendetta's as global law or regulation.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 58.

    Quit? You know, once I was thinking of quitting when I was diagnosed with brain, lung and testicular cancer all at the same time. But with the love and support of my friends and family, I got back on the bike and won the Tour de France five times in a row. But I'm sure you have a good reason to quit. So what are you dying of that's keeping you from fighting these allegations?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 57.

    Can we still see the evidence? We know his former team mates doped, and some have said they were told to by management or face losing. We know Armstrong has never failed a drugs test. So either we're seeing an innocent man hounded or the worst unrepentant drugs cheat is being brought to book. Without seeing actual evidence we'll never know for sure.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 56.

    As said,if he was using drugs that were not detected at the time,perhaps other were doing the same. i am not a cycle enthusiast but did enjoy the cycling during the Olympics,this will mean I will not have any interest in cycling in the future.And,to all those saying the Olympics (all non football sports) showed football how to be sportsman like,well there you go, football is cleaner then cycling

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 55.

    Lance is recognised globally as a Cycling icon and sporting superstar. Tygart is gaining nothing except the reputation as a bitter man who wants only to make someone else, a sporting hero, look bad.

    Livestrong Lance Armstrong!!!!

    Tygart,shame on you!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 54.

    There does seem to be strong elements of a witch hunt when they offer no proper test evidence (He has passed nearly 500 tests in over 20 years of competition).& rely entirely on statements from a number of people who suddenly came forward who were previously silent on the subject.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 53.

    "Difficult one to assess, this one. Why give up if innocent?"

    Possibly due to the financial cost of fighting it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 52.

    I don't know why USADA don't just let sleeping dogs lie. Armstrong never tested positive for drugs or for masking agents - that's a fact. To me that means he's innocent. This is nothing but a publicity seeking witch hunt. I can't blame Lance for sticking his two fingers up at USADA and getting on with his life. I hope the UCI also stick two fingers up at USADA and allow him to keep his TDF titles.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 51.

    Grimois - The USADA have been hounding Armstrong about these allegations for 13 years. Whether he is or isn't taking drugs, USADA itself has a maximum policy regarding these accusations to be capped at 8 years.

    For clarity - he has only once tested positive in a b sample in that time (you require both an A and B for a positive result) and it was around the time he was being treated for cancer.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 50.

    I can understand why Armstrong is giving up. The USADA have hounded him for the past 2 years. Its not right at all.
    Lance Armstrong has had to do numerous dope tests throughout his career. Surely if he was routinely doping, he would have tested positive at some point in his career!
    He is innocent, end this witch hunt now

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 49.

    Pity, Ironman Triathlon was getting really intersting with Lance taking part

 

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