Armstrong drops fight against anti-doping charges, likely banned for life
Until now. The Associated Press is reporting that Armstrong will drop his fight against the allegations levied by the US Anti-Doping Agency. This means that he will likely be stripped of his seven (seven!) Tour De France titles and any other title dating back to 1998. From the AP:
The decision sets up a likely lifetime ban from the sport and the possibility that Armstrong will be stripped of his signature achievement – the extraordinary run of Tour titles he won from 1999-2005.
Armstrong, who retired last year, declined to enter arbitration – his last option – because he said he was weary of fighting accusations that have dogged him for years. He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests that he has passed as proof of his innocence.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.” For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. He called the USADA investigation an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”
“I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” he said. “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.”
USADA will almost certainly treat Armstrong’s decision as an admission of guilt, and hang the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation’s support for cancer research.
This is huge. Not only will he be stripped of all of his titles, but he’ll also likely be banned from the sport for life.
Details are still trickling in, but this is a bombshell.