Lance Armstrong Is Facing A Lifetime Ban As USADA Prepares To Strip Him Of His Tour De France Titles

Lance Maintains His Innocence

This is kind of a big deal. Wait, no. It is a big deal. Seven-time Tour de France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong has officially stopped fighting the condemning charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs from 1999-2005. The USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) says this is as good as any admission of guilt and they plan to ban Armstrong for life and strip him of his unprecedented seven titles. However, Armstrong maintains that he is innocent, but has had enough of the fighting. He also believes that the USADA cannot actually take his titles away from him. Either way, it’s a pretty sad day for sports-lovers. Get the deets inside.

CBS News has the story:

USADA reacted quickly and treated Armstrong’s decision as an admission of guilt, hanging the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation’s support for cancer research.

Tygart said the agency can strip the Tour titles, though Armstrong disputed that as he insisted his decision is not an admission of drug use, but a refusal to enter an arbitration process he believes is unfair.

“USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles,” he said. “I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours.”

USADA maintains that Armstrong has used banned substances as far back as 1996, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids as well as blood transfusions — all to boost his performance…

Armstrong sued USADA in Austin, where he lives, in an attempt to block the case and was supported by the UCI, the sport’s governing body. A judge threw out the case on Monday, siding with USADA despite questioning the agency’s pursuit of Armstrong in his retirement.

“USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives,” such as politics or publicity, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks wrote.

Now the ultra-competitive Armstrong has done something virtually unthinkable for him: He has quit before a fight is over.

“Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities,” Armstrong said.

Read more here.

Now, I have not been following this story very closely but the rest of the article chronicles the many events that have unfolded since the first accusations. It’s intense, but throughout it all Lance has maintained his innocence. It is, however, going to be really hard for people to go along with this now. I’m assuming that many will follow the USADA‘s lead and take his walking-away as an admission of guilt.

I’m very curious to hear what everyone’s thinking about this. On the one hand, it’s hard to believe that he would just quit the fight, and risk losing all of his titles. However, these court cases sound absolutely grueling and I can imagine you’d just be over it after awhile. But still… Lance Armstrong? Over it? I dunno…

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  1. I don’t think it means he’s guilty at all. I think the USADA looks more dumb than anyone else involved. 12 years is a long time to fight accusations and take drug tests that have all been negative. I’m proud of him for moving on. And I want to know who at the USADA has a family member who lost to Lance and is now bitter. Haha

  2. This makes me sick. SICK. USADA is not the official governing body, and they are puffing up to make themselves look more important than they are. If if his titles are officially stripped, how far down the winners line are they going to have to go before they find someone who wasn’t doping so they can be declared the winner? How about historically? From at I understand, just about everybody does it. It’s difficult to imagine the bionic results we’ve been seeing without it. Lance is right. This is a witch hunt and I’m glad he’s not engaging anymore. They may strip his titles, but it is by default action and not one that came about by proof positive. Whatever “evidence” they conjured up to assure themselves a victory and a humiliation for Lance is wasted now. He took the wind out of their sails. I love Lance. The man single-handedly brought the sexy image to the Tour. People sat up and took notice of the event because of him. It wasn’t the same event before he arrived and it hasn’t been the same without him.

  3. GregSD

    I don’t follow cycling, and I’m not huge Lance Armstrong fan, but my reaction when the USADA brought these latest allegations against him in June was – Really? The man is retired, he’s never had a positive drug test. When does it end?

    So, even then it seemed like they had it out for him. I guess I feel the same way now. They seem to be hellbent on bringing him down.

    And, I obviously need to read up on the USADA and what sports they govern. They want to strip Lance of all of his cycling titles, but when a football player has a positive drug test, it is a comparative slap on the wrist (suspended for a certain number of games.) Makes no sense to me.

    Regardless, the whole situation is strange and sad.

  4. courtney

    innocent until proven guilty. as long as he denies it, i think the burden of proof should fall on the USADA. they haven’t met it. so, as far as i’m concerned, he’s still innocent.

  5. ck

    I’m so happy to see the truth finally come out! I think if people thought Lance didn’t dope they must still believe in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Clause… on the other hand, a lot of spectators don’t really know the sport. Lance doped… everyone did! He was just better at hiding it. What I always hated was that he flaunted his ability to get past the test. He should have just shut-up about it. I think that’s what made USADA mad, because he was thumbing his finger at them like, “You can’t touch me. I can beat you, too.” And now USADA’s like, “Oh yeah?!” That’s most likely why they came after him in his retirement, because Lance is an a-hole… but that personality is what made him train hard, because face it, he did train harder than anyone else. I don’t think this makes USADA look bad. I think ultimately, (he won’t admit it, of course), Lance realized there’s too much evidence against him and it would take too much effort to ultimately prove he’s still guilt.

    Lance did a lot for cancer patients, that goes without saying. I hope people can see the two are separate… but probably not. He’s a really good athlete, probably best, but it was his cockiness that ultimately brought him down.

  6. Colette

    Fact is simple .. he passed the test given to him at the time. End of story. Technology improves and pretty soon we won’t be able to hide anything. Walking away is smart… they can’t prove it and they can’t take it away it’s not a US title. Tour de FRANCE!!!

  7. I’ma side with Lance on this. I think the USADA looks foolish. Going after someone for 13 years. If you had proof, you would have been able to nail him years upon years ago. He passed the tests… suck it up and move on. I’m sure as Lance has stated, this has taken a toll on him, his family, his work, and i’m sure his wallet… after 13 years with no end in sight… i might say enough is enough as well. I’m sure he’s spent millions defending himself over the past decade, to what resolve? NADA! Time to just sit back and enjoy life, everyone knows who won 7 titles… and that’s the end of that.

  8. Shivers

    I think he handled the situation with as much grace as he could and I can only hope that this doesn’t have any effect on sponsorship for his foundation.

  9. Sayaka

    as a cycling fan, I can’t help but agree with USADA doing this (even thou is a really late move), mostly because, Lance has had a really shaddy pass with the doping test already (getting positives one but “proving” it wasnt for doping), and a reaction of pure “I’m better than you” attitude that french as general, and cycling fans hated everytime the subject came out, if he’s guilty or not, I can’t say it for sure (I ain’t him after all), but is a good thing that another big name in the sport is coming down, honestly, I’m not sure how the reaction will be over there, but in the not US born fans comunity, this actually makes us smile, maybe in the future we’ll be finally abble to have a cleaner sport

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