Aug 24, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Lance Armstrong speaks to soldiers at Kandahar Air Force Field on December 16, 2010.
Excerpted from The Los Angeles Times: Lance Armstrong effectively surrendered his seven Tour de France titles Thursday, announcing he was giving up his years-long fight against accusations that he cheated to repeatedly win cycling’s greatest race.
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Chief Executive Travis Tygart said late Thursday he was still waiting to hear directly from Armstrong but added that the cyclist’s decision not to proceed in an arbitration process will leave Armstrong stripped of all of his Tour titles and 2000 Olympic bronze medal and result in a lifetime competition ban.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Armstrong, 40, wrote in a statement emailed to The Times and other news agencies.
Armstrong’s attorneys asked a USADA attorney to turn the matter over to UCI, the international cycling union, but USADA maintains it retains jurisdiction to strip the titles.
Armstrong never tested positive for performance-enhancing use during his decade-plus of Tour races.
Now, as he abandons his impassioned fight against anti-doping authorities, the perception of an American hero who rallied from cancer to become champion of perhaps sport’s most demanding endurance test has been recast.
Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles earlier this year closed an inquiry without filing charges.
USADA, however, moved earlier this year to revoke Armstrong’s Tour victories and was preparing to reveal details indicating doping by the cyclist while also calling witnesses before an independent arbitrator.
“Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart’s unconstitutional witch hunt,” Armstrong wrote. “The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our [cancer] foundation and on me leads me to where I am today — finished with this nonsense.”
Armstrong said a federal court’s decision this week not to halt USADA’s review clinched his decision.
“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,” Armstrong said in the statement. “But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.”
Armstrong has railed against the idea that a rider involved with doping can cut a favorable deal with USADA in exchange for testimony against him.
“Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition…. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?”