Unless the USADA has other evidence we don't know about, it sounds to me like he's being railroaded.Quote:
"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?"
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ETA: Here's Lance's statement:Lance ArmstrongQuote:
Lance Armstong's Statement of August 23, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - August 23rd, 2012 - 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.
Lance Armstrong stripped of Tour de France titles by USADA
The article is very lengthy and repeats information posted already, but I'm baffled at how he is losing these titles based only on accusations. The USADA certainly dispenses a very different sort of "justice".
I didn't know cortisone was a banned substance, either. It is very commonly administered for pain and swelling, and it's often used for sports injuries. I am starting to question the USADA's scope and apparent omnipotence.
I really don't know what to think about this, especially when he just gave up and said I will no longer fight this agency. Then again I have never had cancer and survived it. I think for many cancer survivors their whole perspective can change, they probably don't want to waste life fighting against an agency that doesn't seem to have definitive proof against him. Lance may have lost his titles, but there is no way that he still won't be referenced as the guy who won seven Tours De France. Perhaps for him, his foundation, his friends, family and other upcoming cyclists that is good enough.
Here is an excellent article by a very credible sportswriter. :up
Lance Armstrong doping campaign exposes USADA’s hypocrisy - The Washington Post
First of all, Lance Armstrong is a good man. There’s nothing that I can learn about him short of murder that would alter my opinion on that. Second, I don’t know if he’s telling the truth when he insists he didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs in the Tour de France — never have known. I do know that he beat cancer fair and square, that he’s not the mastermind criminal the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency makes him out to be, and that the process of stripping him of his titles reeks.
A federal judge wrote last week, “USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives.” You don’t say. Then when is a judge, or better yet Congress, going to do something about it?
The U.S. anti-doping agency has moved to strip him of his titles, but the long-term impact of the decision on his legacy and foundation remains unclear.
Cycling champion Lance Armstrong announced Thursday night that he'll stop fighting the charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong is still proclaiming his innocence.
Quite independently of Lance, with whom I wrote two books, for a long, long time I’ve had serious doubts about the motives, efficiency and wisdom of these “doping” investigations. In the Balco affair, all the wrong people were prosecuted. It’s the only so-called drug investigation in which the manufacturers and the distributors were given plea deals in order to throw the book at the users. What that told us was that it was big-game hunting, not justice. It was careerist investigators trying to put athletes’ antlers on their walls. Meanwhile, the Fourth Amendment became a muddy, stomped-on, kicked-aside doormat.
So forget Lance. I have so many problems with USADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) — which is supposed to be where athletes can appeal, only they never, ever win — that it’s hard to know where to begin. American athletes have lost 58 of 60 cases before the CAS. Would you want to go before that court?
Anyone who thinks an athlete has a fair shot in front of CAS should review the Alberto Contador case. Contador was found to have a minuscule, insignificant amount of clenbuterol in his urine during the 2010 Tour de France. After hearing 4,000 pages of testimony and debate, CAS acknowledged that the substance was too small to have been performance-enhancing and that its ingestion was almost certainly unintentional.
Therefore he was guilty. He received a two-year ban.
CAS’s rationale? “There is no reason to exonerate the athlete so the ban is two years,” one member of the panel said.
Would you want to go before that court?
The decision was so appalling that even the Tour runner-up, Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, couldn’t swallow it and refused to accept the title of winner. “There is no reason to be happy now,” Schleck said. “First of all, I felt bad for Alberto. I always believed in his innocence. . . . I battled with Contador in that race and I lost.”
The former prime minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, had openly declared his belief that Contador was innocent. When the CAS ruling came down, Zapatero expressed “bewilderment” and suggested it was so irrational it gave “sufficient reasons to open a debate about their fairness.”
The response of WADA President John Fahey? A rant in which he suggested that Contador was given a two-year ban instead of one because Zapatero had dared to open his mouth. Let me repeat: The president of WADA actually suggested publicly that an athlete’s penalty was made harsher because his prime minister had the nerve to challenge WADA’s authority.
Again, would you want to go before that court?
When are people going to grow sick enough of these astonishing overreaches and abuses to do something about it? As my friend Tommy Craggs has written for Deadspin, WADA and USADA have become “a gang of moralizing cranks . . . and it is beyond me why an organization that wants to ban caffeine again hasn’t yet gotten laughed out of polite conversation.”
You can put me down on that side of the argument. You can also put me down on the side of professional basketball player Diana Taurasi, who has called the international drug testing bureaucracy “one of the most unfair processes you can be put through,” and attorney Howard Jacobs, who makes his living going before CAS. He told USA Today, “A lot of times athletes are getting run over in the quest for clean sport.”
How does an agency that is supposed to regulate drug testing strip a guy of seven titles without a single positive drug test? Whether Armstrong is innocent or guilty, that question should give all of us pause. How is it that an American agency can decide to invalidate somebody’s results achieved in Europe, in a sport it doesn’t control? Better question, how is it that an American taxpayer-funded organization can participate in an adjudication system in which you get a two-year ban because “there is no reason to exonerate” you? At what point is such an organization shut down and defunded?
In his decision last week, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks declined to intervene in USADA’s case against Armstrong because to do so would “turn federal judges into referees for a game in which they have no place, and about which they know little.” But in the next breath Sparks expressed an opinion on certain matters he does know about. “The deficiency of USADA’s charging document is of serious constitutional concern,” he wrote. “Indeed, but for two facts, the court might be inclined to find USADA’s charging letter was a violation of due process and to enjoin USADA from proceeding thereunder.” Among other things, he was disturbed by USADA’s “apparent single-minded determination” to go after Armstrong and force him before CAS.
All of which I find far more worrisome than the question of whether he may have transfused his own blood in trying to climb a mountain on a bike. It wasn’t a judge’s job to intervene with USADA. But it most certainly would seem to be the job of Congress. The WADA-USADA system is simply incompatible with the U.S. legal system.
In one day, donations to his foundation were up 30%
I don't fault him at all for giving up. He's spent 13 years fighting these accusations, and there just comes a time when enough is enough.
Could he keep fighting? Sure. But what's going to happen? The same thing that has happened before. He'll continue to get harassed about this every time someone blinks. By calling it quits, the whole thing stops.
I've never had cancer, but I do have a chronic condition. And I can tell you that there are times when it is just easier (and better for my mental health) to give up on something than to keep fighting. I need my energies for other things, and I'm not raising 5 kids nor running a huge non-profit organization.
I don't blame him for saying enough is enough. No matter what he says or does, they would still come after him. I do not follow cycling, but I've heard it has a reputation as a dirty sport. So, why would we not assume that most if not all of those supposed eyewitness teammates are truthful persons without their own agenda.
I find it interesting that the CAS (Court for Arbitration of Sport) has the same initials as the Children's Aid Society. Both are known for making decisions with zero accountability to any one...