USADA has granted Lance Armstrong a 30 day extension to the deadline it had set for him to either accept sanctions or enter in to a process of arbitration over what USADA has described as "a massive doping conspiracy".
Interestingly although USADA had combined the cases against Armstrong and former USPS, Astana, and current RadioShack Nissant Trek team boss Johan Bruyneel no such extension has been granted to the Belgian. Bruyneel therefore still has until Saturday to accept USADA's sanctions or enter in to a process of arbitration - any sanctions are very likely to include a lifetime ban from involvement in cycling and all other sports signed up to the World Anti-Doping Authority's code. Bruyneel has yet to comment.
On Tuesday the three other men named by USADA along with Armstrong and Bruyneel as being part of a doping conspiracy spanning 16 years were given lifetime bans as they elected not to contest the charges.
Earlier today Armstrong's lawyers re-filed a slimmed down version of the 80 page submission that was thrown out by a Texan Court on Monday for being amongst other things too long. Among a number of stinging criticisms of the original suit the judge also instructed that if the lawsuit was re-filed it must “omit any improper argument, rhetoric, or irrelevant material,”
Armstrong's legal team argue that the USADA violates athlete's constitutional rights, that the alleged doping violations occurred outside the agency's jurisdiction, and that the agency and its boss Travis Tygart violated federal law in gathering its evidence against Armstrong. Armstrong's lawyers were also seeking a restraining order against USADA to stop it enforcing the Saturday deadline - as a result of the extension being granted that has been withdrawn.
While the granting of the extension might be seen as a sign of weakness from USADA, the organisation's chief executive remains supremely confident that Armstrong's lawsuit will fail.
Looked at from another direction three legs of this particular 5-legged piece of furniture are gone, on Saturday another may well fall which then leaves only Armstrong fighting on. His chances of victory seem remote and will be remoter still if Bruyneel accepts the USADA sanctions. Indeed were Armstrong to win it seems likely that it would not be on the substance of the case against him but on the procedural basis that the USADA's writ did not run in Europe - hardly a vindication.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.