News24

Statement: Lance Armstrong

2012-08-24 09:16

Austin - Lance Armstrong's official statement following USADA's decision to ban him for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles.

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 Travis Tygart's 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.

I had hoped that a federal court would stop USADA’s charade. Although the court was sympathetic to my concerns and recognized the many improprieties and deficiencies in USADA’s motives, its conduct, and its process, the court ultimately decided that it could not intervene.

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. 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?

From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA 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. And as many others, including USADA’s own arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process. USADA has broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade USADA to honor its obligations. At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach. On top of all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that circumvent their own rules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those riders continue to race today.

The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It’s an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It’s just not right.

USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart.

Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities. This October, my Foundation will celebrate 15 years of service to cancer survivors and the milestone of raising nearly $500 million. 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. I will not stop fighting for that mission. Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.

Sport24

Comments
  • chris.styles.121 - 2012-08-24 10:54

    I was bowled over by Lance's extrememly well written response to his years of drug critism. However there is one irrefutable fact which should not be forgotten. He has won all these races. He lance Armstrong , not anyone else. Taking away, or not recognising his titles, is at the end of the day, unimportant. What is important is that he has won the race against all odds. I say to USADA and Mrs Tygart, " Put that in your pipe and smoke it" If you do not have a piper, stick it up your dirt shute. '

  • JamesLWG - 2012-08-24 10:57

    Go ahead. Ban him for life if that makes you feel better USADA. He has nothing left to prove. Whether you acknowledge it or not, Lance Armstrong will still be the greatest cyclist who ever lived.

  • dion.oliveira - 2012-08-24 11:00

    Having raced for a few years myself, and having a small taste of what Lance accomplished, I support Lance Armstrong without question. As for Travis Tygart and those that support his misdirected war, the message is clear, your motives and intentions are not true, they have no positive influence. The writing is on the wall your egos and vehement hate are misdirected, and the energy and resources you have abused will no longer fuel your immorality.

  • roodbol - 2012-08-24 14:06

    Lance and family, Don't know how you all handled this rubbish for so long. If thousands of tests are negative to banned substances, they're negative.. or not?! Is negative now positive?

  • raymond.cugnolio - 2012-08-24 14:23

    Well done on your comments Lance and what a pity that USADA seem hell bent on this unjust course of action. Absolutely the greatest cyclist ever in the Tour de France and a worthy champion of not just cycling!

  • chad.sharrock - 2012-08-24 14:51

    pain is temporary, glory is forever! No matter what the press says! you will always be a champion

  • lex.holmes2 - 2012-08-24 18:36

    This is a travesty of justice. I for one, salute Lance for his amazing achievements, and those that are responsible for this witch hunt should hang their heads in shame.

  • alexander721 - 2012-08-24 21:15

    USADA stripping Lance of his titles and banning him for life is a joke. If you google USADA and read through it's mission statement and it's own laws, yo will find all sorts of inconsistancies with what they preach and how they really conduct their buisness. They have'nt even produced a shred of evidence, only supposed statements by former teammates. And even those are dubious, George HIncappie doping, well, like okay, if you believe the devil has turned over a new leaf. Nope, this all stinks to high heaven of some under the floorboards agenda. Lance, you should have taken them on, it would have been interesting to watch them collapse in front of the world in the media. Well, good luck Lance. You are more than welcome to come and ride the Argus anytime.

  • peter.wilson.338863 - 2012-08-25 13:08

    Regardless Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist the world has ever seen and its a absolute damn shame that not a single test of the hundreds taken came back positive. Lance regardless all the cyclist who tried beating you know that you were the BEST.

  • jamesrw.wadsworth - 2012-08-25 14:50

    I read through each comment, all supportive of Lance Armstrong. The evidence remains, the samples taken, all negative. In a court of law these samples would prove conclusively that Lance is beyond reproach. No matter what allegations are made the face remains there is no hard evidence of any wrong. It is rather sad, but a part of life, that there will always be those who will try and destroy others. I see it all the time. If there is one thing I could say against Lance is that he should make those who wrong him pay, not stop the fight. He fought cancer and won, he can do so again!

  • ashleyoli - 2012-10-24 09:19

    Go read the hardcore evidence for those who are sceptic-Appendices and supporting doc. Everything one needs to know is on this website. http://cyclinginvestigation.usada.org/

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