The United States Anti-Doping Agency has stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles following the cyclist’s decision to stop battling illegal doping accusations. The agency says a lifetime ban from professional cycling will also be imposed on Armstrong.
“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, but 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,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart.
"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," Tygart added. "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."
Armstrong, 40, has long been accused of using performance enhancing drugs. He was officially charged with illegal doping in June of this year. The charges are supported by blood samples from 2009 and 2010, as well as testimonies from former teammates. Armstrong announced Thursday he will stop fighting the accusations.
"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' 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. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by [an] unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense,” he wrote on his official website.
"Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances,” he added.
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