Lance Armstrong Drops Fight Against Doping Charges
UPDATE 8:27 P.M.: The USADA has announced that it will in fact strip Armstrong of all his Tour de France titles and will ban him from cycling for life.
After years of fighting off doping allegation upon doping allegation, Lance Armstrong decided that “enough is enough.” The seven-time Tour de France winner has dropped his fight against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong could be stripped of all his titles and may be subjected to heavy sanctions from the USADA.
Though he forfeited his case against the USADA, Armstrong does not admit guilt or accept the possible forthcoming charges.
“I know who won those seven Tours,” Armstrong said in a released statement.
Armstrong continued and asserted that he always raced cleanly. “There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment,” Armstrong continued. “The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not [USADA CEO] Travis Tygart.”
More candor from Armstrong: “If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA's process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and - once and for all - put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims.”
Armstrong, famed for fighting back from testicular cancer to become the second American to win a Tour de France, has fought doping allegations since the 1999 Tour de France -- his first victory at cycling’s ultimate stage.
Even with former teammate Floyd Landis admitting use of performance-enhancing drugs from 2002 to 2006, Armstrong always stood firm that he was clean, dismissing any allegation. Instead of fighting the USADA, which he calls an “unconstitutional witch hunt,” Armstrong retracted his case, trying to make the point that the USADA violated its own rules and standards to personally attack him.
Armstrong “will no longer address [doping allegations], regardless, of the circumstances.” He will focus on the Livestrong Foundation and raising his children instead of fighting legal battles.
Slightly akin to the USC-Reggie Bush scandal, regardless of what the USADA enforces on Armstrong, people will still know who won the Tours. His image may not be clean, but the fact that he escaped and made his statement before any ruling came down may save face and lessen any blow. Maybe.
Read Armstrong’s full statement here.