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Lance sues to end charges

2012-07-09 21:42
Lance Armstrong (File)
Austin - Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong filed a lawsuit on Monday in the US District Court to stop US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) officials from pushing forward with doping charges against him.

The legal move, coming in the US cycling legend's hometown, claims USADA rules are a violation of his US constitutional right to a fair trial and that USADA lacks jurisdiction in his specific case.

Armstrong, who has denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs, also claims that USADA chief executive Travis T. Tygart is pursuing a personal vendetta upon Armstrong, who won the Tour de France from 1999 through 2005.

Armstrong, who has retired from cycling, could be stripped of his Tour de France triumphs and banned from the sport for life if convicted.

"It is a testament to USADA's brazenness and callous disregard for its own mission that it seeks to strip Mr. Armstrong of his life's work," Armstrong's attorneys said in the lawsuit.

"The process (USADA) seek to force upon Lance Armstrong is not a fair process and truth is not its goal."

Armstrong wants a federal judge to prohibit USADA pushing its case to an arbitration hearing panel, the next step in procedures that could lead to the case being settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

He asked that an injunction against USADA be filed by Saturday, the deadline for Armstrong to challenge USADA's charges through arbitration or accept sanctions.

Armstrong's lawyers called USADA's hearing procedure a "kangaroo court" and said that Armstrong would not be able to launch a proper defence against the charges under USADA rules and would face irreversible harm if USADA proceeds.

The charges against him have foiled Armstrong's plans to participate in World Ironman triathlon events in France and Hawaii because the sanctioning body of the sport abides by rules forbidding participation by athlete facing such accusations.

Tygart, in a statement, said Armstrong's lawsuit is part of a bid to hide the truth about his misdeeds.

"USADA was built by athletes on the principles of fairness and integrity," Tygart said.

"We are confident the courts will continue to uphold the established rules which provide full constitutional due process and are designed to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport."

USADA charged Armstrong last month with being part of a doping conspiracy during the years he won the Tour de France, the move coming four months after the US government ended a two-year probe into Armstrong without bringing charges.

USADA claims to have nearly a dozen former Armstrong associates willing to testify against him and say they have blood samples from more recent events that indicate doping by Armstrong, who has never failed a doping test.

Armstrong claims to have taken more than 500 drug tests in his career without ever testing positive.

USADA has not made public the names of those witnesses, saying it wants to protect them from possible intimidation but opening claims from Armstrong about the veracity of USADA's case and claims.

Armstrong says that some witnesses are not credible, such as admitted dope cheat Floyd Landis, and others have grudges and already disproven claims against Armstrong.

The New York Times reported last week that former Armstrong teammates George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie are among those set to testify against Armstrong. All four are in this year's Tour field.

Armstrong also argues that any such investigation should be pursued by the global sport governing body, the International Cycling Union, and not USADA.

Read more on:    lance armstrong  |  cycling

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