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Thread: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

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    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    Heartbreaking.

    USADA to strip Lance Armstrong of 7 Tour titles - Yahoo! Sports Canada

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- With stunning swiftness, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday night it will strip Lance Armstrong of his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles after he dropped his fight against drug charges that threatened his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.

    Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, said Armstrong would also be hit with a lifetime ban on Friday. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, he could lose other awards, event titles and cash earnings while the International Olympic Committee might look at the bronze medal he won in the 2000 Games.

    Armstrong, who retired last year, effectively dropped his fight by declining to enter USADA's arbitration process - his last option - because he said he was weary of fighting accusations that have dogged him for years. He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests he passed as proof of his innocence while piling up Tour titles from 1999 to 2005.

    ''There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now,'' Armstrong said. He called the USADA investigation an ''unconstitutional witch hunt.''

    ''I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,'' he said. ''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.''

    USADA reacted quickly and treated Armstrong's decision as an admission of guilt, hanging the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation's support for cancer research.

    ''It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and athletes,'' Tygart said. ''It's a heartbreaking example of win at all costs overtaking the fair and safe option. There's no success in cheating to win.''

    Tygart said the agency had the power to strip the Tour titles, though Armstrong disputed that.

    ''USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles,'' he said. ''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.''

    Still to be heard from was the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union, which had backed Armstrong's legal challenge to USADA's authority and in theory could take the case before the international Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Tygart said UCI was ''bound to recognize our decision and impose it'' as a signer of the World Anti-Doping Code.

    ''They have no choice but to strip the titles under the code,'' he said.

    USADA maintains that Armstrong has used banned substances as far back as 1996, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids as well as blood transfusions - all to boost his performance.

    The 40-year-old Armstrong walked away from the sport in 2011 without being charged following a two-year federal criminal investigation into many of the same accusations he faces from USADA.

    The federal probe was closed in February, but USADA announced in June it had evidence Armstrong used banned substances and methods - and encouraged their use by teammates. The agency also said it had blood tests from 2009 and 2010 that were ''fully consistent'' with blood doping.

    Included in USADA's evidence were emails written by Armstrong's former U.S. Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after a positive drug test. Landis' emails to a USA Cycling official detailed allegations of a complex doping program on the team.

    USADA also said it had 10 former Armstrong teammates ready to testify against him. Other than suggesting they include Landis and Tyler Hamilton, both of whom have admitted to doping offenses, the agency has refused to say who they are or specifically what they would say.

    ''There is zero physical evidence to support (the) outlandish and heinous claims,'' Armstrong said. ''The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of (doping) controls I have passed with flying colors.''

    Armstrong sued USADA in Austin, where he lives, in an attempt to block the case and was supported by the UCI. A judge threw out the case on Monday, siding with USADA despite questioning the agency's pursuit of Armstrong in his retirement.

    ''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,'' such as politics or publicity, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks wrote.

    Even if UCI and USADA differ on the Tour titles, the ultra-competitive Armstrong has still done something virtually unthinkable for him: He quit before a fight is over.

    It was a stunning move for an athlete who built his reputation on not only beating cancer, but forcing himself through grueling offseason workouts no one else could match, then crushing his rivals in the Alps and the Pyrenees.

    ''Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances,'' he said. ''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.''

    Armstrong could have pressed his innocence in USADA's arbitration process, which would have included a hearing during which evidence against him would have been presented. But the cyclist has said he believes most people have already made up their minds about whether he's a fraud or a persecuted hero.

    Although he had already been crowned a world champion and won individual stages at the Tour de France, Armstrong was still relatively unknown in the U.S. until he won the epic race for the first time in 1999. It was the ultimate comeback tale: When diagnosed with cancer, doctors had given him less than a 50 percent chance of survival before surgery and brutal cycles of chemotherapy saved his life.

    Armstrong's riveting victories, his work for cancer awareness and his gossip-page romances with rocker Sheryl Crow, fashion designer Tory Burch and actress Kate Hudson made him a figure who transcended sports.

    His dominance of the Tour de France elevated the sport's popularity in America to unprecedented levels. His story and success helped sell millions of the ''Livestrong'' plastic yellow wrist bracelets, and enabled him to enlist lawmakers and global policymakers to promote cancer awareness and research. His Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised nearly $500 million since its founding in 1997.

    Jeffery C. Gervey, chairman of the foundation, issued a statement of support saying:

    ''Faced with a biased process whose outcome seems predetermined, Lance chose to put his family and his foundation first,'' Gervey said. ''The leadership of the Lance Armstrong Foundation remain incredibly proud of our founder's achievements, both on and off the bike.''

    Created in 2000, USADA is recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic sports in the United States. Its investigators joined U.S. agents during the federal investigation of Armstrong. Tygart dismissed Armstrong's lawsuit as an attempt at ''concealing the truth,'' saying the agency is motivated by one goal - exposing cheaters.

    Armstrong had tense public disputes with USADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, some former teammates and assistants and even Greg LeMond, the first American to win the Tour de France.

    ''He had a right to contest the charges,'' WADA President John Fahey said after Armstrong's announcement. ''He chose not to. The simple fact is that his refusal to examine the evidence means the charges had substance in them.''

    Others close to Armstrong were caught up in the investigations, too: Johan Bruyneel, the coach of Armstrong's teams, and three members of the medical staff and a consultant were also charged. Bruyneel is taking his case to arbitration, while two medical team staffers and consulting doctor Michele Ferrari didn't formally contest the charges and were issued lifetime ban by USADA. Ferrari later said he was innocent.

    Questions surfaced even as Armstrong was on his way to his first Tour victory. He was leading the 1999 race when a trace amount of a banned anti-inflammatory corticosteroid was found in his urine; cycling officials said he was authorized to use a small amount of a cream to treat saddle sores.

    After Armstrong's second victory in 2000, French judicial officials investigated his Postal Service team for drug use. That investigation ended with no charges, but the allegations kept coming.

    Armstrong was criticized for his relationship with Ferrari, who was banned by Italian authorities over doping charges in 2002. Former personal and team assistants accused Armstrong of having steroids in an apartment in Spain and disposing of syringes that were used for injections.

    In 2004, a Dallas-based promotions company initially refused to pay him a $5 million bonus for winning his sixth Tour de France because it wanted to investigate allegations raised by media in Europe. Testimony in that case included former teammate Frankie Andreu and his wife, Betsy, saying Armstrong told doctors during his 1996 cancer treatments that he had taken a cornucopia of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.

    Two books published in Europe, ''L.A. Confidential'' and ''L.A. Official,'' also raised doping allegations and, in 2005, French magazine L'Equipe reported that retested urine samples from the 1999 Tour showed EPO use.

    Armstrong fought every accusation with denials and, in some cases, lawsuits against media outlets that reported them.

    He retired in 2005 and almost immediately considered a comeback before deciding to stay on the sidelines - in part because he didn't want to keep answering doping questions.

    ''I'm sick of this,'' Armstrong said in 2005. ''Sitting here today, dealing with all this stuff again, knowing if I were to go back, there's no way I could get a fair shake - on the roadside, in doping control, or the labs.''

    Three years later, Armstrong was 36 and itching to ride again. He came back to finish third in the 2009 Tour de France.

    Armstrong raced again in 2010 under the cloud of the federal investigation. Early last year, he quit the sport for good, making a brief return as a triathlete until the USADA investigation shut him down.

    During his sworn testimony in the dispute over the $5 million bonus, Armstrong said he wouldn't take drugs because he had too much to lose.

    ''(The) faith of all the cancer survivors around the world. Everything I do off the bike would go away, too,'' Armstrong said then. ''And don't think for a second I don't understand that. It's not about money for me. Everything. It's also about the faith that people have put in me over the years. So all of that would be erased.''
    I don't know what to think. It's true he has passed many drug tests. It could be true he's just angry and tired of battling accusations. I wish he would fight this but he's made his position clear.
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    Live-Love-Laugh Fanny Mare's Avatar
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    After 500 tests that all came back just fine- I dont blame him for throwing in the towel.
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    I don't really get why he stopped fighting if he's innocent. I understand he's frustrated and angry but by giving up it makes him look guilty to a lot of people.
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    Quote Originally Posted by CCL View Post
    I don't really get why he stopped fighting if he's innocent. I understand he's frustrated and angry but by giving up it makes him look guilty to a lot of people.
    They must have really found something as I can't imagine this happening if he were totally clean.
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    Quote Originally Posted by Fanny Mare View Post
    After 500 tests that all came back just fine- I dont blame him for throwing in the towel.
    I don't blame him either. And I don't see this in any way as an admission of guilt. He's been hounded for many years both here & overseas, but he's continually passed EVERY drug test. But the hounding continued, & even increased. No other cyclist who has continually passed drug tests has been treated this way. In fact, no other cyclist has been treated this way.
    I think he's just tired & fed up with the accusations & fighting them, and is finally saying "I give up fighting!"
    Sometimes that happens, especially after all these years. Life, his family, and his Foundation are more important to him than continuing to fight a bunch of people with a grudge. It's about wanting positive energy in your life over negative.
    From what I've heard & read, the only "evidence" against him is strictly hearsay from disgruntled people who want to bring him down for no other reason than to knock a winner down.
    I have no idea if any of it is true, nor does anyone else, for sure, except Lance.

    But the facts say this: He has NEVER failed a banned substance test out of hundreds & hundreds given.
    Facts should hold more weight than the hearsay of jealous people.

    He's right. It's nothing more than a witch hunt.
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Scarlet View Post
    I don't blame him either. And I don't see this in any way as an admission of guilt. He's been hounded for many years both here & overseas, but he's continually passed EVERY drug test. But the hounding continued, & even increased. No other cyclist who has continually passed drug tests has been treated this way. In fact, no other cyclist has been treated this way.
    I think he's just tired & fed up with the accusations & fighting them, and is finally saying "I give up fighting!"
    Sometimes that happens, especially after all these years. Life, his family, and his Foundation are more important to him than continuing to fight a bunch of people with a grudge. It's about wanting positive energy in your life over negative.
    From what I've heard & read, the only "evidence" against him is strictly hearsay from disgruntled people who want to bring him down for no other reason than to knock a winner down.
    I have no idea if any of it is true, nor does anyone else, for sure, except Lance.

    But the facts say this: He has NEVER failed a banned substance test out of hundreds & hundreds given.
    Facts should hold more weight than the hearsay of jealous people.

    He's right. It's nothing more than a witch hunt.
    I don't think he's admitting guilt either. I think he's had enough. They show up at his house, unannounced whenever they like. I would say enough as well. I admire him, always have , always will.He fought cancer( more than once) putting something into his body, that might interact with the cancer would be a no no.I believe him
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    I don't know if he's innocent or guilty. He's passed a whole bunch-load of tests - fair enough. But people later found out to be guilty have passed tests, too. He's tired of being singled out and hounded - fair enough. But how much of his time is spent disputing the claims? He still works a great deal on his foundation etc so it's not every minute or anything that is totally taking over his life, I would say. And I'm sure the lawyers are doing most of the work (and, yes, he has to pay the lawyers but by giving in he has to give back all his prize money so there's that money lost). I just feel that, if it was me, and if I knew was clean, I'd be fighting to the end, and the anger I would feel would fuel me. The giving in at this point will just make a lot of people see him as guilty, especially considering he is being stripped of all of his prizes, no matter how much he clarifies that his giving up the fight is not akin to him admitting guilt.
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    Read The Clue Bearcata's Avatar
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    How in the heck does an American agency have the power to strip Armstrong of his titles when an international body, the International Cyclist Union gave out the award?
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    Live-Love-Laugh Fanny Mare's Avatar
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    Quote Originally Posted by CCL View Post
    I don't know if he's innocent or guilty. He's passed a whole bunch-load of tests - fair enough. But people later found out to be guilty have passed tests, too. He's tired of being singled out and hounded - fair enough. But how much of his time is spent disputing the claims? He still works a great deal on his foundation etc so it's not every minute or anything that is totally taking over his life, I would say. And I'm sure the lawyers are doing most of the work (and, yes, he has to pay the lawyers but by giving in he has to give back all his prize money so there's that money lost). I just feel that, if it was me, and if I knew was clean, I'd be fighting to the end, and the anger I would feel would fuel me. The giving in at this point will just make a lot of people see him as guilty, especially considering he is being stripped of all of his prizes, no matter how much he clarifies that his giving up the fight is not akin to him admitting guilt.
    I guess he is okay with them thinking what they like. I say let him live in peace, for me, he will have always have won 7 times. Those that question him, probably did so awhile ago.
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    Re: Lance Armstrong To Lose Tour Titles

    IIRC, he's failed one drug test back during his first or second Tour de France. Not one he won, and he's never tested positive again. He's probably the most tested athlete in history. How he can pass ALL of those drug tests and still be under suspicion, I just don't know. They're either just out to get him or they have evidence that hasn't been made public. If they haven't made it public, I can't imagine why not.

    This feels like a witch hunt and they're just going to keep going no matter what. There are plenty of riders who wish him ill, mostly out of jealousy and envy and they're all happy to speak up and say whatever they can to cause problems for him. I don't think he was ever very popular on the tour. He doesn't strike me as a warm, friendly person.

    I think he's just tired of fighting and especially tired of fighting an organization that he feels is unethical and is going after him regardless of any real evidence.

    If he's innocent - and I want to believe that he is - then I'm just terribly sad for him. If he's guilty, then I'm just sad, period.
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