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"Enough is Enough" - former cyclist decides not to fight USADA charges through arbitration process...

Lance Armstrong is set to be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from sport for life after deciding to not to opt for arbitration to fight the charges brought against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

In a statement published on his website in which he continued to protest his innocence, the 40-year-old said: “There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” describing USADA’s pursuit of him as an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”

USADA, which will issue a full statement today, has already confirmed that it intends to ban Armstrong for life and to take away the record seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart said: "It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes. This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition."

Earlier this week, US district judge Sam Sparks, sitting in Armstrong’s home town of Austin, Texas, rejected a lawsuit brought by him and confirmed that USADA had jurisdiction over the case, rather than the UCI or USA Cycling.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had backed USADA's stance. Both the UCI and USA Cycling are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), which provides that the national anti doping agency is the competent body in a case such as this.

As a result, Armstrong had to choose by midnight Colorado time (where USADA is based) yesterday whether to contest the charges through arbitration or accept USADA’s sanctions.

Despite that decision, in which Judge Sparks did express reservations about USADA’s motives, Armstrong’s legal team continued to insist yesterday that USADA lacked jurisdiction in the case.

His attorney Tim Herman writing a strongly worded letter to the agency saying that its case against him should be submitted to the UCI or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to deal with.

Armstrong’s own statement suggests, however, that certainly as far as any proceeedings from USADA are concerned, the battle is over.

At the end, he said: “Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.”

There does remain the possibility, however, that the UCI, which had contested USADA's jurisdiction, might decide to challenge any formal decision from it at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In a statement, the governing body said: "The UCI notes Lance Armstrong’s decision not to proceed to arbitration in the case that USADA has brought against him.

"The UCI recognises that USADA is reported as saying that it will strip Mr. Armstrong of all results from 1998 onwards in addition to imposing a lifetime ban from participating in any sport which recognises the World Anti-Doping Code.

"Article 8.3 of the  WADC states that where no hearing occurs the Anti-Doping Organisation with results management responsibility shall submit to the parties concerned (Mr Armstrong, WADA and UCI) a reasoned decision explaining the action taken.

"As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision in accordance with Article 8.3 of the Code.

"Until such time as USADA delivers this decision the UCI has no further comment to make."

The specific allegations against Armstrong himself, including the testimony of former team mates who have never been formally identified by USADA although their names have been the subject of press speculation, will not now be presented in an arbitration hearing.

However, it is likely that much of that evidence will be heard at other hearings including that relating to Armstrong's manager at US Postal and elsewhere during the period concerned, Johan Bruyneel, who himself has been charged by USADA but who chose the arbitration route.

Reacting to the news of Armstrong's decision on his personal website, Bruyneel, now manager of RadioShack-Nissan, wrote: "Today, I’m disappointed for Lance and for cycling in general that things have reached a stage where Lance feels that he has had enough and is no longer willing to participate in USADA’s campaign against him. Lance has never withdrawn from a fair fight in his life so his decision today underlines what an unjust process this has been.

"I hope that it will soon be determined that the case that USADA initiated against me should never have gotten as far as it has. Due to the sensitive nature of legal proceedings, I have been advised that it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage."

John Fahey, President of WADA, reacted to the news by saying that he believed Armstrong's actions proved there was "substance" to USADA's allegations.

"He [Armstrong] had the right to rip up those charges but he elected not to, therefore the only interpretation in these circumstances is that there was substance in those charges," Fahey, quoted on Eurosport, told Reuters.

"My understanding is that when the evidence is based upon a career that included seven Tour de France wins then all of that becomes obliterated."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

84 comments

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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Of course he is giving up the fight - because he's a guilty man who has no defence that's why. Guilty as charged, and the loss of his seven TdeF wins is very welcome ....

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Nick T [913 posts] 3 years ago
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Going after Merckx and Coppi next!

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PJ McNally [589 posts] 3 years ago
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So in some tours, is it now the guy who crossed the line 4th who is the winner?

Surely only the top 3 podium places were doping; anyone 4th or below must be squeaky clean.

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JC [155 posts] 3 years ago
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When did cycling get clean?
2001? 2005? 2009? 2012?
Do we now need to put a big asterisk after all pre-200X (tbc) results?
Is there an age of cycling now where the majority of race winners are clean?
Or will we be looking back in 2030 saying how we all feel cheated (again)

I suspect if you went and delved into the pasts of Ullrich, Zulla, Beloki, Kloden & Basso (2nd to Lance in the TdF) you would find some skeletons (or worse)

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GerardR [117 posts] 3 years ago
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Do I believe he's innocent? Probably not, much as I'd like to. Has he been tried in the fashion which anyone accused has the right to? No. But he has done something I think quite clever by taking on the mantle of a martyr.

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Faroon [22 posts] 3 years ago
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Who's ever going to remember who won any of those 7 tours?

I still want to believe that he did it clean... Maybe that makes me the bigger mug in it all, but I still want to believe.

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cavmem1 [50 posts] 3 years ago
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PJ McNally wrote:

So in some tours, is it now the guy who crossed the line 4th who is the winner?

Surely only the top 3 podium places were doping; anyone 4th or below must be squeaky clean.

give it the guy who came last 'cos he can't have been doping  4

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cavmem1 [50 posts] 3 years ago
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does this mean the anti- Armstrong gang will now go after Shleck? what will they do now?

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josh78c [6 posts] 3 years ago
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Not a very satisfactory conclusion, USADA should have been made to lay their case out warts and all.
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morits [25 posts] 3 years ago
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what about Indurain ?

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bikeandy61 [500 posts] 3 years ago
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Whether he did or not for me Lance will be the winner of those 7 tours right or wrong. It's stupid in my opinion to hand the victories to others, especially in the period we are talking about. As said above who is going after Merckx, Anquetil et al?

Now as for whether he should be sued to reclaim the winnings gathered unfairly is a different, but equally muddy question. As prizes are split up across the team who rode is it a matter of suing each individual who took a share (surely unfair) or sue the winner for the value for him to solely stump up?

Time to draw a veil over the past surely (as in taken reprisals etc, certainly the lessons learned are not to be ignored) and concentrate on the present and future?

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Edglass [73 posts] 3 years ago
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Does he have to give back the prize money?

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Brummmie [58 posts] 3 years ago
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This is a pathetic witch hunt IMHO.

Why on earth don't they present the evidence they have now, rather than smear a man who tries to do so much good in the world and continues to keep himself in great physical condition?

Many suspect he's been "bang at it" for a long time, but again, where is the evidence ?

You only had to hear Ned Boulting on TalkSport this morning to get a distinct feeling that Armstrong isn't held in high regard within cycling or at least the cycling media any more. If that is the case what do the cycling media know ?
Put up or shut up time !

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Philx [37 posts] 3 years ago
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I like the way armchair pundits often wade in on this subject with such certainty. Like anyone not directly involved can really know one way or the other.

Now back to my position squarely atop the fence of apathy.  37

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gazzaputt [207 posts] 3 years ago
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The life ban is pure vindictiveness and shows USADA for what they are.

TBH glad it's all done and dusted.

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nevs [21 posts] 3 years ago
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It is tragic to see doping agencies resort to corrupt practice to convict someone.

Now we will never know for sure if Lance is guilty. Or what it was that was worse than losing seven tour titles that Lance did not want exposed.

The doping agencies are meant to be the tower of strength against cheats. Now can we trust them? The whole anti doping regime risks becoming a farce.

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OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 3 years ago
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gazzaputt wrote:

The life ban is pure vindictiveness and shows USADA for what they are.

TBH glad it's all done and dusted.

I think that's probably his feeling too. He knows that he'll still be remembered as the guy who won the races, whether or not he was guilty as charged. And this is especially the case since so many of the other riders in the peloton have the same question hanging over them.

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Sudor [184 posts] 3 years ago
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Well, well, well.

There's a surprise, after years of passive- aggressive legal threats and media attacks on all who dared to question the cancer victim to sporting super hero myth LA now seeks to play the "I'm the tired victim of a USADA witch-hunt card".

LA can now sit back and enjoy the (huge pile) of cash and celebrity whilst denying the cycling world (and those clean-riding victims who tried in vein to to compete with him) the full and proper answers to the many questions of how this breathtaking fraud was carried out for so long under the nose of the UCI.

In light of this news watch this interview clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZgns7CXeUI

to see how Armstrong's uses the cancer cloak to attack those who had the temerity to ask reasonable questions. I wonder how effective the new USADA witch-hunt cloak will be? - maybe someday be he'll make another pile of cash by selling the inside story about how he pulled it off.

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oldiwan [3 posts] 3 years ago
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Not convinced - can you believe a self governing, self determining, self appointed body to be objective - they're only serving their own ends at the end of the day.

They have no authority to strip any cyclist of Tour wins - that's the jurisdiction of the UCI.

Lets have ALL their evidence - including names of those prepared to swear to Armstrong's guilt, and the inducements offered.

There's always no smoke without fire so come on USADA show us the flames of proof.

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liam.cahill1 [42 posts] 3 years ago
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Thank you USADA for nothing. Anyone who ever supported Armstrong properly will just ignore your 'findings'. I certainly will be because that's my childhood of cycling and my childhood hero.

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sprite [8 posts] 3 years ago
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Isn't it so easy to take down the tall poppy?
If guys like Tom Simpson, the biggest scapegoat ever for the anti-doping establishment, cannot even place in the Tour, then surely we cannot believe that any Tour winners for the past 50 years have not taken "something". Ask yourself this, do you not take supplements, vitamins, medicines, sports drinks/tonics to improve your health, strength, endurance or fitness. Will these products also become "banned" in the future? We are all creatures of our own time, you cannot criminalise athletes from past eras.

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PaulVWatts [111 posts] 3 years ago
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The USADA police all sports in the USA so it should be remembered this case is not just about cycling and stops Armstrong competing as a triathlete and drugging there as well. To those in denial I have some sympathy but Armstrong having the evidence and choosing not to defend himself is to me and I'm sure a lot of others a de-facto admission of guilt. Also the UCI, if some parts of the cycling press are to be believed, have been complicit in covering up his drug taking. The attempts by the UCI to act outside their powers and override the USDA would seem to support these accusations. Any sport association has too much of a vested interest to be allowed to override WADA and the national drug agencies. If the UCI is allowed to continue its attacks on the USDA they will send the message that if you are rich or famous your outside the rules.

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Tripod16 [149 posts] 3 years ago
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Simply it is a sad day for too many reasons.  20

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 3 years ago
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While I suspect LA is probably guilty, the USADA really appear to be overstepping the line on this. Sure they can ban him from competition just like British Cycling to us, but BC couldn't strip me of victories earned outside it's jurisdiction could it? (happy to be corrected if wrong). If ASO (who are known to be in bed with the UCI) object to having their results amended by a national federation, are we going to end up with 2 different versions of TDF results, one published in the US and another for the rest of the world?!

Whatever, media shitstorm in 5, 4, 3, 2...

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mrmo [2022 posts] 3 years ago
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There was only one way this was going to end and it was with Armstrong giving up. Regardless of what USADA presented some would say he doped some would say he didn't, there would have been more lawsuits, etc.

Was he doping, who knows, why worry about it. It is in the past, worry about today and tomorrow.

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Farky [183 posts] 3 years ago
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I feel cheated by how this entire affair has been mishandled by USADA.

If ever there was a chance to lay the cards on the table, USADA has seen to it that it never happens.

Shambolic, underhand, misguided, incompetent, irresponsible, unprofessional.

How can we ever rid a sport of cheating when the governing body cheats!

FWIW - I dont believe he cheated, his evidence of lack of positives, shows enough to support that even with that one odd questionable test..or at least nothing different to all others tested the same way.

Removing the opportunity for systematic doping is more important than a witch-hunt. USADA arent doing anything to this extent in this case.

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dave atkinson [6148 posts] 3 years ago
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sprite wrote:

Ask yourself this, do you not take supplements, vitamins, medicines, sports drinks/tonics to improve your health, strength, endurance or fitness. Will these products also become "banned" in the future? We are all creatures of our own time, you cannot criminalise athletes from past eras.

you can if they were knowingly breaking the rules, surely? i don't think USADA are saying lance was taking vitamins. they're saying he was cheating, under the rules that existed at the time.

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Manx Rider [18 posts] 3 years ago
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I still don’t really get it. If USADA have proof he doped from his samples that that would be pretty black and white no? It seems like the evidence they have isn’t conclusive which is why all the other investigations have been dropped. Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems USADAs trump card is witness statements, and not from the discredited Landis and Hamilton but from others in the US Postal massive – JV and his band of merry men. Lance’s choice, I guess, was to say he is refusing to fight a body which doesn’t have jurisdiction or air the dirty laundry of everyone in US cycling (his mates and ex-team mates) in some public hearing.

All seems a bit unsatisfactory to me. Have JV and all the US cyclists exposed all taken drugs if so what did they take and when and why are they not being charged? Also seems a bit harsh Armstrong getting stripped of his tours when Ulrich, Pantani and Riis have still got theirs from that era, they are all convicted/admitted drug takers.

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Dr Livingstone [22 posts] 3 years ago
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 31 Armstrong effectively convicted without any evidence - where is the justice?

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 3 years ago
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Seems like a clever move from Armstrong. By giving in now, before any hard evidence is brought to light, he can still claim the moral high ground. He must have known that the noose was tightening, and as usual, he's found a way to slip out of it. By leaving some doubt, most of his fans will continue to believe he was the subject of a witch hunt.

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