Lance Armstrong banned for life, stripped of 7 Tour wins re:
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has banned Lance Armstrong for life and stripped him of all seven Tour de France victories that helped make him an American hero.
The agency’s action came one day after Lance Armstrong decided not to fight the doping charges, saying “enough is enough” and refusing to recognize USADA’s authority to sanction him.
In a release, USADA said his decision to skip arbitration prompted the immediate sanctions. Lance Armstrong also must forfeit all results from Aug. 1, 1998, through today, which include the seven conseuctive Tour titles won from 1999 through 2005.
The agency said Lance Armstrong received a lifetime ban because of “his numerous anti-doping rule violations, including his involvement in trafficking and administering doping products to others.”
“Nobody wins when an athlete decides to cheat with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, but clean athletes at every level expect those of us here on their behalf, to pursue the truth to ensure the win-at-all-cost culture does not permanently overtake fair, honest competition” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in the release. “Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case.”
The sanctions against Lance Armstrong mark the end of a long sporting saga that once captivated the world. A native of Austin, Texas, Lance Armstrong successful fight against cancer and remarkable career inspired millions of other survivors and gave rise to Livestrong and its iconic yellow bracelets.
USADA said the doping evidence against Lance Armstrong came from statements by more than a dozen witnesses.
The anti-doping agency accused Lance Armstrong of using EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, cortisone and HGH during his career, and that “scientific data” showed he manipulated his blood with EPO or blood transfusions during his comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour.
It also said that witnesses alleged that Lance Armstrong “encouraged them to use and administered doping products or methods, including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from 1999 through 2005.”
On Thursday, Lance Armstrong said his decision did not mean he would accept USADA’s sanctions. His lawyers threatened a lawsuit if USADA proceeded, arguing the agency must first resolve a dispute with the International Cycling Union (UCI) over whether the case should be pursued.
“You are on notice,” Armstrong attorney Tim Herman said in a letter, “that if USADA makes any public statement claiming, without jurisdiction, to sanction Mr. Armstrong, or to falsely characterize Mr. Armstrong’s reasons for not requesting an arbitration as anything other than a recognition of (International Cycling Union) jurisdiction and authority, USADA and anyone involved in the making of the statement will be liable.”
That didn’t stop USADA, which quickly imposed the ban about 14 hours alter.
The Amaury Sport Organization, which runs the Tour, told The Associated Press that it would not comment until it had heard more from the International Cycling Union and USADA.
In walking away, the 40-year-old Lance Armstrong cited a familiar defense: he has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. “I know who won those seven Tours,” Armstrong said in his statement. “The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially Travis Tygart.”
Lance Armstrong previously was the subject of a federal investigation into whether he committed fraud while on the U.S. Postal Service team, not whether he doped. That investigation was stopped earlier this year with no charges filed. USADA then brought its own non-criminal case against Armstrong, citing its authority to protect the integrity of sports as authorized by Congress.