Lance Gives Up!

Staff Writer
USADA would strip Armstrong of 7 Tour de France titles

He overcame testicular cancer to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles, but the indefatigable Lance Armstrong is abandoning the fight to clear his name of doping charges. Armstrong announced late last night that he will stop fighting allegations by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that he used banned substances (read our primer on the complete charges) throughout his career. USADA replied immediately, saying it would ban Armstrong from competition for life and recommend he be stripped of his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles.

"There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough,'" the Texan said in a statement. "For me, that time is now." This comes just days after a federal judge dismissed Armstrong's lawsuit intended to halt the USADA's drug case against him. Without hope of federal intervention, Armstrong saw no point in participating in what he considered a deeply unjust court battle, despite the possibility of forever clearing his name. "If I thought for one moment that by partcipating 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," he said. "But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair."

"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," USADA chief Travis Tygart said. "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, for his part, accuses Tygart of leading an "unconstitutional witch hunt" against him and maintains that USADA has no jurisdiction over his case. And, to some extent, he's right, at least as far as his Tour titles are concerned. Those are now in the hands of the International Cycling Union (UCI), the sport's worldwide governing body, which plans to examine the USADA's evidence before they make any decisions.

Naturally, news of this magnitude has been met with mixed reactions from news pundits, media and the cycling community. Here are highlights from what we've read: