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Armstrong decides to end fight
Cycling champion Lance Armstrong said Thursday he would no longer battle the United States Anti-Doping Agency over its claims he used drugs during his career.
In a lengthy statement on his Web site, Armstrong said the USADA had made “heinous” claims against him, but that there was no point in fighting them in what he called an “unconstitutional” setting.
Various media reports indicated the USADA”s chief executive, Travis Tygart, would issue a lifetime ban and strip Armstrong of is seven Tour de France titles.
“It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes,” Tygart said in a 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.”
Armstrong, 40, had a much different opinion.
“I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” Armstrong said in his statement. “Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation (which was closed without any action taken) followed by Travis Tygart”s unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation (for cancer research) and on me leads me to where I am today — finished with this nonsense.”
Armstrong had tried to have the USADA”s actions dismissed by a federal judge, but that bid was rejected.
“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 said. “But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.
“Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?”
The USADA made its charge against Armstrong two months ago. It said blood samples from 2009 and 2010 were “fully consistent with blood manipulation.”
“I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation,” Armstrong said. “As respected organizations such as UCI (the international governing body of cycling) have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges.
“The international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate in USADA”s improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are made without authority.”
Copyright 2012 by United Press International