Lance Armstrong Stops Fighting Doping Charges, Stripped Of Seven Titles
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, 40, was stripped of his titles on Thursday after revealing that he would drop the fight against the doping accusations that have been leveled at him for many years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The withdrawal of Armstrong's seven victories and the institution of a lifetime ban from competitive sports comes after Armstrong refused to participate in an arbitration process. "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough,'" Armstrong wrote in a statement he emailed to the press. "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."
The USADA has won 58 of the 60 cases that have gone into arbitration and, in Armstrong's case, the agency claimed to have more than 10 witnesses — some of whom are other cyclists — who would testify to seeing Armstrong use performance-enhancing drugs, reports USA Today.
Chief Executive of the USADA, Travis Tygart, is taking the new no-contest stance from Armstrong as tantamount to admission. "It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," Tygart wrote in his own statement. "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. For clean athletes, it is a reassuring reminder that there is hope for future generations to compete on a level playing field without the use of performance-enhancing drugs."
Armstrong, however, who calls Tygart the leader of an "unconstitutional witch hunt," has a different take on the matter entirely. "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 wrote. "But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair."
Armstrong is choosing instead to focus on his foundation for cancer patients, Livestrong. "We have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction."
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