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AP Exclusive: Lance Armstrong Won't Fight USADA Charges - could lose all TDF titles


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#1 Common sense

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:06 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong said Thursday night he is finished fighting a barrage of drug charges from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, putting his unprecedented string of seven Tour de France titles at risk along with his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists in history.

The decision sets up a likely lifetime ban from the sport and the possibility that Armstrong will be stripped of his signature achievement — the extraordinary run of Tour titles he won from 1999-2005.

Armstrong, who retired last year, declined to enter arbitration — 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 that he has passed as proof of his innocence.

"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 in a statement sent to The Associated Press. 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 will almost certainly treat Armstrong's decision as an admission of guilt, and hang 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.

The agency can impose a lifetime ban and recommend Armstrong be stripped of his titles. That would put the question in the hands of the International Cycling Union, which has disputed USADA's authority to pursue the investigation and Tour de France officials, who have had a prickly relationship with Armstrong over the years.

Armstrong insisted his decision is not an admission of drug use, but a refusal to enter an arbitration process he believes is improper and unfair to athletes facing charges.

"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."

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. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of (doping) controls I have passed with flying colors," Armstrong said.

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

http://www.nytimes.c..._r=1&ref=sports


There's more in the article, but WOW.
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#2 CanuckRow

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:10 PM

All these Tour de France doping stories feel very cyclical. :bigblush:

Edited by CanuckRow, 23 August 2012 - 07:29 PM.

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#3 Jägermeister

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:13 PM

I believe him that he wasn't doping to enhance his performance, but I feel like the things the agency is looking into as evidence of doping could have been as a result of his cancer treatment.
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#4 canucklax

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:24 PM

they've been after him for years and have never had concrete proof. totally understandable that he's done fighting these guys, but it is far from an admission of guilt.


Innocent until proven guilty
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#5 Donky

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:30 PM

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.

http://lancearmstrong.com/news-events/lance-armstongs-statement-of-august-23-2012

Edited by Donky, 23 August 2012 - 07:31 PM.

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#6 Ghostsof1915

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:02 PM

If you notice he never says he never took steroids.

The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced.

That's not the same as saying you never took steroids or anything to enhance his performance. Big difference.
That's called a non-denial, denial.


Edited by Ghostsof1915, 23 August 2012 - 08:06 PM.

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#7 canucklax

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:04 PM

If you notice he never says he never took steroids.

The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced.

That's not the same as saying you never took steroids or anything to enhance his performance. Big difference.


Doesn't mean he's guilty of anything either. While I understand the political way he put it, its still not an admission of anything
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#8 elvis15

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:38 PM

The 'punishment' now is to remove all titles, awards and the millions in monetary prizes. Of course, in order to get any money out of him, they'd likely have to take him to court, and with the judge already saying he didn't want to get involved despite disagreeing with some of the methods of the USADA so I don't imagine that going well.

He'd also be banned from coaching or assisting in any events governed by the same doping control agencies, which would include the Olympics. The International cycling board might appeal from what I'd read, if successful it would just leave US events still banned.
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#9 M A K A V E L I 96

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:58 PM

There's a bunch of former teammates / trainers who the doping agency said would testify that he did participate in doping. I don't think all of these people would just be making this all up. He might have won even without steroids, but rules are rules.
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#10 Squirrels.Gone.Wild

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 09:43 PM

How can they strip him of everything if there's no physical proof that he was doping?

Edited by Squirrels.Gone.Wild, 23 August 2012 - 09:44 PM.

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#11 canucklax

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 09:46 PM

How can they strip him of everything if there's no proof that he was doping?


They can't unless he were to admit something, which he won't do because he never showed positive in any test.
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#12 hockeyville88

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 10:44 PM

Something tells me Usain Bolt may experience a similar fate at some point. I don't know - the guy doesn't seem legit to me.

I guess the question though is: is everyone doing it? And if everyone is doing it, is it still cheating or is it merely considered keeping up with the competition?
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#13 Azzy Mahmood

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 11:13 PM

Good. I always thought Lance Armstrong was a drugs cheat. There may be no proof but the mere fact he's 'giving up' is all the proof I need. He ruined the TdF for me.
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#14 canucklax

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 11:37 PM

Good. I always thought Lance Armstrong was a drugs cheat. There may be no proof but the mere fact he's 'giving up' is all the proof I need. He ruined the TdF for me.


If someone kept wanting to take you to court for something you were never proven of doing, then in that court case the judge ruled he didn't want to hear the complaint anymore, then those same people keep badgering you about it, wouldn't you waive them off too?

Innocent until proven guilty and there is no proof
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#15 Bombastik der Teutone

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 11:37 PM

Good. I always thought Lance Armstrong was a drugs cheat. There may be no proof but the mere fact he's 'giving up' is all the proof I need. He ruined the TdF for me.


i also think that there was something wrong with him over the years.

it was unreal how he "jumped" away from his opponents at the mountain stages

and a lot of his former teammates said that he and the whole us-postal team and later team discovery used doping.

our german tour hero jan ullrich also never admit that he used doping even there were rumours and some lists with his name.

all his former teammates admit doping though...+ his former captain bjarne riis who lost his tour title 1996.

i cant believe that ullrich was the only one who didnt used it....and if he used doping.... so not good enough to beat armstrong.
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#16 King Heffy

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:24 AM

I think it's ridiculous that they're trying this hard to investigate the matter. It can't be proven either way at this stage. Innocent until proven guilty; let the guy enjoy his retirement.
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#17 NightHawkSniper

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:32 AM

They've spent years trying to build a case against him and they pretty much have nothing, maybe give up?
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#18 Bob.Loblaw

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:37 AM

They've spent years trying to build a case against him and they pretty much have nothing, maybe give up?


does that sound like the USADA to you
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#19 Azzy Mahmood

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:25 AM

If someone kept wanting to take you to court for something you were never proven of doing, then in that court case the judge ruled he didn't want to hear the complaint anymore, then those same people keep badgering you about it, wouldn't you waive them off too?

Innocent until proven guilty and there is no proof

If I knew I was innocent of a series of allegations that would not only ruin my career, but would also render the last 20 years of my professional life meaningless, I'd fight until the day I died to clear my name.

Armstrong has plenty of evidence against him. Testimonials from eye witnesses. The rumoured test failures that were covered up. There's enough against him to strip him of his 'achievements'.

But despite all that, the guy will always be remembered as a phenomenal cyclist - and for good reason.
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#20 Ovech Trick

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 04:17 AM

I really don't care, never liked the guy to begin with.
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#21 Fanuck

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 09:04 AM

Funny thing is that the organization that was put into place to stop 'dopers' from ruining the sport will now rally behind LA to protect their own authority. WADA doesn't want USADA telling them what to do and this will eventually end up in some international court, but for the wrong reason - a fight over organizational 'pissing territory', not for the integrity of the sport (whch is a joke by the way anyhow).

I've had my doubts about LA for a long, long time and to some degree I usually go by the old saying, "Where there's smoke there's usually fire." At the same time I always have in the back of my mind, "Innocent until proven guilty." So in this case I'm not 100% sure. I just hope this doesn't end up like the Marion Jones fiasco - otherwise Armstrong will have let a lot of people down, a LOT OF PEOPLE.
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#22 gurn

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 11:23 AM

There is no proof, there has been no proof and yet they keep hounding him year after year and decade after decade.
I'd get tired of that abuse too, add in a cancer fight and who has the energy to fight a multi million dollar battle against a bunch of holier than thou government A holes.
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#23 aqua59

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:27 PM

If I was not guilty I'd go to my grave denying charges. This guy is guilty all the way. A lot of evidence aginst him, too much. He's done. I've never believed this guy.
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#24 coleman26

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:31 PM

The UCI notes Lance Armstrong’s decision not to proceed to arbitration in the case that USADA has brought against him.

The UCI recognises that USADA is reported as saying that it will strip Mr. Armstrong of all results from 1998 onwards in addition to imposing a lifetime ban from participating in any sport which recognises the World Anti-Doping Code.

Article 8.3 of the WADC states that where no hearing occurs the Anti-Doping Organisation with results management responsibility shall submit to the parties concerned (Mr Armstrong, WADA and UCI) a reasoned decision explaining the action taken.

As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision in accordance with Article 8.3 of the Code.


Until such time as USADA delivers this decision the UCI has no further comment to make.


UCI is basically taking the food out of the USADA's mouth and telling them that they might not strip Lance based on hearsay and speculation.
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#25 pimpcurtly

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:45 PM

Yah yah no proof. The writing is on the wall. When a guy is not only beating, but annihilating, a field full of dopers for that long....cmon people. It's pretty obvious, IMO. Not that I really hold it against him, they were all doing it.
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#26 The Situation

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 03:17 PM

Its seems a lot of people here are Lance Armstrong fanboys.

Why the hell would so many of his teammates testify against him and not a single one come out to defend him? If it wasn't so obvious, his team members would be the first to come out and defend him.
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#27 coleman26

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 03:28 PM

I'm neither, I think it's very likely Armstrong doped at some point, but I think it's wrong to hold him to a different standard. BUT:

Wouldn't his teammates be putting their names on the line for something they, too, couldn't prove? If you're my teammate, and someone asks me if you use steroids, the best I can reply is 'I've never seen him do steroids.' It's far from a real defense, because the turnaround would simply be 'well, you didn't see evidence condemning him, but you have no evidence exonerating him' because no such evidence can or ever will exist.

The people who speak out against him have more to gain than the people who could defend them using logic that wouldn't hold up anyways. I'm not saying that all of the allegations are incorrect - again, I'd probably bet that he's doped, at minimum, at some point, to heal an injury quicker - but there's really no way of defending an accusation like this.

Plus, if 20 riders said they saw him dope, and 21 fellow riders came out and said they never saw him dope, would the tide turn towards 'obviously innocent' - probably not.

I refuse to accept 'I'm tired of fighting a battle that I will never be allowed to win, regardless of lack of evidence' as an admission of guilt. But yeah, he probably did at some point.
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#28 key2thecup

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 01:00 PM

US doping agency erases Lance Armstrong's titles


His seven Tour de France titles stripped away and his legacy in tatters, Lance Armstrong is heading back outdoors and into the public eye.

A day after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency punished Armstrong with a lifetime ban from professional cycling and erased 14 years of his career after concluding he used performance-enhancing druugs, Armstrong is scheduled to ride in a mountain bike race in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday and follow it up by running a marathon there Sunday.

And he has no plans to slow down any time soon, despite the whirlwind of controversy swirling around him.
Armstrong spokesman Mark Higgins said Armstrong also still plans to attend the World Cancer Congress in Montreal where's he scheduled to deliver a keynote address to thousands in attendance.
''He's getting out there,'' Higgins said.

Anti-doping and cycling officials will continue to address his career.
USADA said Friday it expects cycling's governing body to take similar action, but the International Cycling Union was measured in its response, saying it first wanted a full explanation of why Armstrong should relinquish Tour titles he won from 1999 through 2005.

The Amaury Sport Organization, which runs the world's most prestigious cycling race, said it would not comment until hearing from the UCI and USADA. The U.S. agency contends the cycling body is bound by the World Anti-Doping Code to strip Armstrong of one of the most incredible achievements in sports.

Armstrong, who retired a year ago and turns 41 next month, said Thursday he would no longer challenge USADA and declined to exercise his last option by entering arbitration. He denied again that he ever took banned substances in his career, calling USADA's investigation a ''witch hunt'' without any physical evidence.

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart described the investigation as a battle against a ''win-at-all-cost culture,'' adding that the UCI was ''bound to recognize our decision and impose it.''

''They have no choice but to strip the titles under the code,'' he said.
That would leave Greg LeMond as the only American to win the Tour de France, having done so in 1986, 1989 and 1990.
LeMond did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment left through his attorneys and friends.
Armstrong on Friday sent a tweet about his plans to race in Aspen, but did not comment directly on the sanctions.

The UCI and USADA have engaged in a turf war over who should prosecute allegations against Armstrong. The UCI even backed Armstrong's failed legal challenge to USADA's authority, and it cited the same World Anti-Doping Code in saying that it wanted to hear more from the U.S. agency.

''As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case, the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision'' explaining the action taken, the Switzerland-based organization said in a statement. It said legal procedures obliged USADA to fulfill this demand in cases ''where no hearing occurs.''

If Tour de France officials follow USADA's lead and announce that Armstrong has been stripped of his titles, Jan Ullrich could be promoted to champion in three of those years. Ullrich was stripped of his third-place finish in the 2005 Tour and retired from racing two years later after being implicated in another doping scandal.
The retired German racer expressed no desire to rewrite the record book of cycling's greatest event, even though he would be the biggest beneficiary.

''I know how the order was on the finishing line at the time,'' Ullrich said. ''I've finished with my professional career and have always said that I was proud of my second-place finishes.''

The International Olympic Committee said Friday it will await decisions by USADA and UCI before taking any steps against Armstrong, who won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Games. Besides the disqualifications, Armstrong will forfeit any medals, winnings, points and prizes, USADA said, but it is the lost titles that now dominate his legacy.

Every one of Armstrong's competitive races from Aug. 1, 1998, has been vacated by USADA, established in 2000 as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic sports in the United States. Since Armstrong raced in UCI-sanctioned events, he was subject to international drug rules enforced in the U.S. by USADA. Its staff joined a federal criminal investigation of Armstrong that ended earlier this year with no charges being filed.

USADA said its evidence came from more than a dozen witnesses ''who agreed to testify and provide evidence about their firsthand experience and/or knowledge of the doping activity of those involved in the USPS conspiracy,'' a reference to Armstrong's former U.S. Postal Service cycling team.

The unidentified witnesses said they knew or had been told by Armstrong himself that he had ''used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone'' from before 1998 through 2005, and that he had previously used EPO, testosterone and Human Growth Hormone through 1996, USADA said. Armstrong also allegedly handed out doping products and encouraged banned methods - and even used ''blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions'' during his 2009 comeback race on the Tour.
In all, USADA said up to 10 former Armstrong teammates were set to testify against him. Had Armstrong chosen to pursue arbitration, USADA said, all the evidence would have been available for him to challenge.

''He chose not to do this knowing these sanctions would immediately be put into place,'' the statement said.
Armstrong said he has grown tired of defending himself in a seemingly endless fight against charges that he doped while piling up more Tour victories than anyone. He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests that he passed as proof of his innocence during his extraordinary run of Tour titles.

''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 Thursday night, before the deadline to enter arbitration.

His success helped sell millions of the ''Livestrong'' plastic bracelets and enabled him to promote cancer awareness and research, raising nearly $500 million since his Lance Armstrong Foundation was started in 1997.

Foundation officials said they remained ''proud'' of Armstrong and had received hundreds of messages of support from donors, partners and supporters since his announcement. Among them was Nike Inc., which said it planned to continue supporting Armstrong and the foundation.

''Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position,'' the company said.
Anheuser-Busch said its partnership with Armstrong was unchanged. American Century Investments, another partner, issued a statement supporting him.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/us-doping-agency-erases-lance-081044433--spt.html


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Dr. Ron Paul 2016!

 


#29 coleman26

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 01:05 PM

Not knowing the truth about whether or not Armonstrong actually did dope, I'm really loving the UCI's response of 'Your job is to provide us with positive test results. Our job is to strip people of titles." USADA doesn't have right to be judge, jury and executioner, especially when they're willing to bet it all on zero scientific evidence to get their guy.
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#30 OrdinaryBoy

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 06:08 PM

The evidence they have is testimony from other riders, but if he was using drugs, why didn't they show up on the hundreds of drug tests he took?
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