Armstrong faces big decision

2012-08-23 20:49

Austin, Texas - Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong faces a deadline to formally challenge sweeping doping allegations from the US Anti-Doping Agency or accept sanctions that could include a lifetime ban from the sport and potentially strip him of his titles.

Armstrong has strongly denied doping during his stellar career. The question was whether he will keep fighting USADA or officially give up and move on, risking a permanent stain on his legacy. The deadline is 06:00 (GMT) on Friday.

Anti-doping officials have accused Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids and blood boosters, and participating in a complex doping scheme on his teams while winning the Tour de France every year from 1999-2005. USADA officials say up to 10 former team-mates are ready to testify against him and they have drug test results from 2009-2010 that are "consistent" with doping.

Armstrong says he has passed more than 500 drug tests in his career and accused USADA officials of waging a personal
vendetta against him.

The 40-year-old Armstrong retired from cycling in 2011 and walked away without being charged following a two-year federal investigation into many of the same accusations he faces from USADA. That probe was closed in February. USADA officials told Armstrong in June they were pursuing separate, non-criminal doping charges.

Sanctions by USADA could damage his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists in history, an athlete who is a hero to many for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for the Lance Armstrong Foundation's work supporting cancer survivors and funding research.

Doping rumours and allegations have dogged Armstrong throughout his career. In a sport rife with cheaters, he has been under constant suspicion from those who refused to believe he was a clean rider winning cycling's premier event against a field of doped-up competition.

The latest charges from USADA spawned a turf war between sports agencies. The Switzerland-based International Cycling Union said USADA did not have jurisdiction to pursue the case and urged the American agency to turn over evidence to them to determine if an investigation should proceed. The World Anti-Doping Agency supported USADA's claims of jurisdiction.

Armstrong sued in federal court to block USADA's case, arguing the arbitration process was unfair. His lawsuit was dismissed Monday by a federal judge, forcing Armstrong to decide whether to challenge the charges in arbitration - something he says violates his constitutional rights to due process. USADA officials say their process is fair and widely recognised by sports agencies across the globe.


  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-08-24 07:55

    Armstrong is a bleddie cheat and should be criminally charged. Without drugs and the help of his poor teammates who always had to be content with second best he would never have been able to steal his 7 wins. He is the lowest form a sportsman cn sink to......a piece of rubbish!

  • Hansie.Crook - 2012-08-24 08:37


  • gavinoleary68 - 2012-08-24 08:57

    There is no proof he cheated, he has been the victim of a targeted campaign. Love him or hate him, he has the right to innocence before proven guilty. Read his first book. The work he did in training is what won races. Oxygen tents, hyper-focus on nutrition, training when no-one else did. He deserves a fair trial.

  • des316 - 2012-08-24 09:05

    This is my take. He passed over 500 tests during his career. Granted the tests are better these days. So they basing it on that he was legal then, but is illegal today. That is where I have a problem. I do we know? He is not active in the sport anymore, he passed the tests, so he is a legend. Do we test Eddy Mercx? Miguel Indurain? This is all here-say. Just because Lance is tired of defending himself, everybody assumes he is guilty. If he did or didn't we will never know. In my eyes, he passed the tests then so he is a 7 time TDF winner. KLAAR!

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