Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lance Armstrong to be stripped of titles

[8/23/12] AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- With stunning swiftness, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday night it will strip Lance Armstrong of his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles after he dropped his fight against drug charges that threatened his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.

Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, said Armstrong would also be hit with a lifetime ban on Friday. And under the World Anti-Doping Code, he would lose the bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics as well as any awards, event titles and cash earnings.

Armstrong, who retired last year, effectively dropped his fight by declining to enter USADA's arbitration process - 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 he passed as proof of his innocence while piling up Tour titles from 1999 to 2005.

''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. 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 reacted quickly and treated Armstrong's decision as an admission of guilt, hanging 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.

[10/21/12] GENEVA >> Forget the seven Tour de France victories. Forget the yellow jersey celebrations on the Champs Elysees. Forget the name that dominated the sport of cycling for so many years.
As far as cycling’s governing body is concerned, Lance Armstrong is out of the record books.

Once considered the greatest rider in Tour history, the American was cast out today by his sport, formally stripped of his seven titles and banned for life for his involvement in what U.S. sports authorities describe as a massive doping program that tainted all of his greatest triumphs.

“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” said Pat McQuaid, the president said of the International Cycling Union. “This is a landmark day for cycling.”

McQuaid announced that his group, known as UCI, accepted sanctions imposed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and would not appeal them to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. McQuaid said he was “sickened” by some of the evidence detailed by USADA in its 200-page report and hundreds of pages of supporting testimony and documents.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme said he no longer considers Armstrong to be a champion from 1999-2005 and wants him to pay back his prize money.

“We wish that there is no winner for this period,” he said in Paris. “For us, very clearly, the titles should remain blank. Effectively, we wish for these years to remain without winners.”

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