Saturday, August 25, 2012
Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Titles
By Valerie Tejeda
Armstrong's seven Tour de France wins will
be cancelled out.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong has officially given up his fight against the longstanding doping charges brought against him by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He claims it's so he can focus on working for Livestrong, the foundation he started for cancer patients. And while Armstrong has not and will not make any admission of guilt, claiming to the end that "I played by the rules," the decision will result in the USADA stripping all of his results since 1998—including his seven Tour de France titles. "I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances…" announced Armstrong in a two-page statement. "We have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause."
Armstrong will also be banned for life from competing in any sport or event sanctioned by a sporting body that is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency code—including the World Triathlon Corporation, which Lance has signed a $1 million deal to compete for, with the money going to his foundation. However he doesn't accept the USADA's sanctions and threatens a lawsuit if the organization proceeds with them, calling the process "unfair and one-sided" and the claims against him "outlandish and heinous" with "zero physical evidence." US District Judge Sam Sparks rejected Armstrong's suit challenging the USADA's authority last Monday. "It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," says USADA CEO Travis Tygart. "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." Despite reportedly completing over 100 doping tests, Armstrong has yet to test positive for any illicit performance-enhancing substance.