News: Armstrong Throws in Towel in Legal Dispute over Doping

Seven-time Tour winner loses titles and is banned from competition for life

By Vernon Felton

In what is undoubtedly the biggest story to hit the cycling world this year, Lance Armstrong has officially announced that he will no longer dispute charges by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that he doped his way to a record-breaking seven wins in the Tour de France.

Armstrong released an official statement just a few hours ago which began:

There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.” For me, that time is now. 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 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’s statement, in essence, does not admit culpability in the matter and suggests, instead, that the world’s most famous cyclist is merely the victim of an unrelenting vendetta.

Armstrong has, indeed, faced charges of cheating since his first Tour de France win in 1999. Despite that fact, the Texan has always been able to defuse those allegations.

Evidence, however, has been mounting against Armstrong in recent years. Several former team members (including Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis) have gone on record as having witnessed Armstrong doping in one fashion or another.

More damning yet, USADA recently announced that they planned to bring Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie and George Hincapie as witnesses against Armstrong in their case. In total, USADA claimed to have 10 teammates that could testify reliably against Armstrong.

In the eyes of many observers, it appeared that the noose was tightening around Armstrong’s neck.

As we go to press with this story, USADA has yet to release an official response to Armstrong’s announcement, but agency spokeswoman Annie Skinner told CNN in an emailed response to that news organization that USADA will strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and impose a lifetime ban from competition.

Innocent but hounded into submission? Guilty and tossing in the towel?

Either way you look at it, it’s a sad day for cycling.

Add a Comment

  • Aaron

    As the tour has gone on it’s become evident to observers that the top cyclists have to dope. It’s less of a matter of innocence and guilt and more of a matter of dollars and cents. When your livelihood and those of your teammates depends on winning sponsorship dollard and winning races, then obviously you’ll stop at nothing to be competitive.

  • pctv

    Was he the only one subject to these investigations. Somebody really had it in for him.

  • Larry Weisenthal

    This is tremendously sad, but he is sounding like Marion Jones. “I never tested positive.” “There is no physical evidence against me.” “This is just a vendetta.” That’s not the way an innocent man talks. An innocent man screams to the top of his lungs “I never doped in my life! I’ve been fighting these utterly false charges for 13 years and I’ll fight them until my dying day, because I’m innocent. They want to take it to arbitriation — fine, game on! I’ve never been scared by a stacked deck in my life, and I’m not about to surrender to a false charge, no matter how many big shot lawyers and lying cowards are lined up against me.”

    That’s what I’d say, and that’s what Lance would say, also. Were he truly innocent.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

  • George Warren

    I heard that they are now going after Eddy Mercx for caffeine abuse,GO FIGURE!!

  • http://Bikemag Rafael

    I personally think he used PEDs in the past but like many I can’t prove anything. The fact that they have 10 guys willing to testify doesn’t mean anything without physical evidence. The names on the list include a bunch of cheaters, liars and dopers. They have zero validity. And what does this resolve? Nothing. He is still the best cyclist ever because even if he was using PEDs he still beat a field of other dopers. The years and money spent by USADA on their witch hunt of Lance does more harm than good because it will negatively affect cancer research.

  • m young

    A one man witch hunt believing that if they can tear down the king everyone will now be afraid of the USADA and their absolute power. It is an egomaniacs power play and the most disgusting persecution in sports history. Warning to all who compete…if you win, they will come for you. These men with small body parts cannot live with exceptional people.
    Innocent until proven guilty? Due process? Sports terrorists.
    Free Lance from Government funded persecution.

    • bp

      well said.

  • Chris

    It’s a real shame of the greatest cyclists ever (Mercx is still the best by far) has been subjected to a witch hunt. It’s quite possible that Armstrong took PEDs but if Armstrong is to be accused and stripped of his titles then pretty much every Tour winner back to at least Indurain should be stripped of their titles

  • Beck

    Still a biking hero either way. It had to be very taxing to fight for so long. USADA can take away his seven titles but we all know who the king is.

  • holg

    it`s as shame ….a real big one.for the sports.
    man ,armstrongs pocket is fully filled.
    that is what really counts.
    not the “hero”.
    good bye armstrong.
    never see you again

  • plumberso

    What is with the life time ban? Other convicted and admitted dopers are raceing and even winning Olympic gold.

  • norman

    I think is a shame that he quit fighting, in my mind he is still the champ who won them all.

  • Andy Mason

    puzzles me how a US funded agency can strip someone of their TdF titles when they got sweet fa to do with the UCI, surely his samples / results whilst racing speak louder than the sell outs who were up for back stabbing him (out of season bans being offered I heard – utter b#llox) Armstrong will ALWAYS be a class act on or off the bike, doped or not – end of the day boils down to an ever growing black cloud over cycling :(

  • Andy Mason

    Lance Armstrong and his attorneys letter, announcing that he will not participate in the arbitration process. The last lines make it very clear. He is not admitting to doping.

  • Denny Warnèr

    I dont care what they say…the guy beat two kinds of Cancer. I’d like to see Anybody else do what he did with or without PEDs. Spoken from a Cancer survivor!

  • Dave

    Unless Lance were to admit doping sometime down the road, we’ll really never know what went on. Maybe he is innocent and being persecuted by a bunch of pathetic lightweights jealous of his accomplishments and desperate to tear him down for their own small reasons. Or maybe he doped all along and is finally getting his just desserts. I don’t pretend to know which is right. I can see the appeal, for Lance, of opting out of the whole mess.

    But what the anti-doping agencies have proved to my satisfaction is that there was a lot of doping going on for a lot of years (continuing, likely at a reduced level, to today). Bicycling for most of my life has been as corrupt as professional boxing and, in its own way, as phony as “professional” wrestling. Is it better now? Maybe. Can I bring myself to lionize Tour de France winners who, we now believe, likely doped? Nope. Will I watch the TDF in the future. I don’t think so.

    Bicycling is a great thing. I’ll keep doing it. And I’ll keep hoping that the best — not the best-drugged — cyclists win races. But I’m not going to watch the races. If cycling as a big-money business went away, I’d be fine with that. If cycling in the future were just local races handing out beer and bragging rights, I’d be find with that too. The point, for me, is to go out and ride my bike. That’s the real pleasure and wonder of bicycling.

    But professional bike racing itself? Meh.

  • Eric

    Saying that he wasn’t going to fight the allegations anymore was actually the best thing he could do. He knows that he would loose the fight, and would have his TdF wins removed if he continued to arbitration, regardless if he is innocent or guilty. So the only way he would be able to come out of this with any sort of dignity, and keep his sponsors, is to just deny doping and not bother fighting the allegations. Lance really had no other choice than to do exactly as he did.

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