Lance Armstrong Announces He Will No Longer Fight the USADA

After months of proceedings, accusations, rumors of other riders offering testimonies for deals, and the threat of an unfair, one sided trial that Lance couldn’t win as his defense would tell you, Lance has decided to call it quits when it comes to fighting the USADA to defend himself against doping allegations. Armstrong is quick to point out that it is not an admission of guilt, but a refusal to enter into arbitration that he has no chance of coming out on top.

What does this mean for the 7 time Tour de France Champion? It likely means that the USADA will strip Lance of his 7 titles, and all other victories of his storied career since 1999. It would also mean a lifetime ban. UPDATE: According to USADA CEO Travis Tygart, Lance will be stripped of all 7 titles and any victories from August 1, 1998 in addition to a lifetime ban.

Lance has issued a statement tonight on what he calls USADA’s pitiful charade, and he claims from now he will turn the page, and not look back.

See what Lance has to say after the break.

From Armstrong:

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.

Comments

Xris - 08/23/12 - 11:08pm

“…attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.”. I do believe after what I watched today, Jens Voigt has taken that title and run away with it. #shutuplegs

Tim M - 08/23/12 - 11:08pm

Go forward Lance….you deserve the 7 titles.
And Tygart, kiss my A**

Sean - 08/23/12 - 11:28pm

What the hell do they have on him if he passed all the blood and urine tests they put in front of him after every race and day of the tour. It would be nice to know how many tests he was given and passed. Put some #’s on the subject.

HWNSNBS - 08/24/12 - 12:07am

Lance apologists are simply the worst, go ride your carbon bikes you freds!

D - 08/24/12 - 12:09am

Im probably a bit ignorant to how this all works. But allegations (and no judge/jury/trial) = default guilty?

fanboy - 08/24/12 - 12:35am

this news has broken elsewhere over the last hour and the one thing I notice from comments on other sites is that the majority of Lance defenders are from the USA.

while the rest of the world is saying “I told you so”.

Dustin - 08/24/12 - 12:36am

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

Umm… me thinks that maybe Travis Tygart knows a little something about the win at all costs overtaking the FAIR and safe option. In his noble attempt to rid professional cycling of doping.. he offers immunity to several cyclists that are “allegedly” guilty of doping in exchange for their testimony against Lance. Are we really attempting to clean up the sport Travis??? Or.. are we only trying to win one specific case with no regard for the integrity of USADA???

It’s amazing to watch the personal crusade that Travis Tygart has undertaken with the luxury of our hard earned taxpayer dollars. God Bless America!!!

Who says there’s no success in cheating to win? Tygart did and in doing so has bestowed upon himself the prestigious award of d-bag of the year 2012.

Herbie Hamcock - 08/24/12 - 1:14am

So… he’s not going to fight the USADA’s decision since he is not guilty? Rather, he isn’t fighting it since he has an un-winnable case, and instead will be able to issue a cyclical argument press release, and in turn all the gory details won’t come out in the extended coverage of the media. It is a smarter move than fighting it if he **********were***********cough*cough**** guilty, however.

At all the Moes, get over it.

Brian Smith - 08/24/12 - 1:14am

Amen to that, Dustin.

Dustin - 08/24/12 - 1:21am

Call me a Lance apologist if you like.. but.. I’m just trying to point out the hypocrisy of Tygart chastising a win at all costs attitude.. by employing his own win at all costs approach.

If you are really out to clean up the sport.. then do it with some consistency. That’s all I’m asking.

@HWNSNBS
Is it plausible that some refuse to ride carbon fiber bikes because it would leave them with an absolute void of excuses for being dropped by better riders? It seems all too convenient to convince yourself that you only got dropped because you “prefer” to ride an old steely 9-speed with down tube shifters.

I only say that because I currently ride a 26 lb titanium 9-speed.. but I still dream of someday becoming a carbon fiber Fred.

JP - 08/24/12 - 1:52am

Even though he cheated, so did practically everybody else. At least he did some good with his wealth and fame.

Charles - 08/24/12 - 2:09am

Dustin hits the nail dead on. One man’s personal crusade to bring down a global icon with American tax payers money. I bet his ego must be very big right now.

Peter - 08/24/12 - 2:23am

One of Lance’s greatest defenses, at least as far as the public is concerned, is that he passed X number of doping controls without testing positive once. First, let us be clear. He tested positive twice, but once his B sample came back negative and the other time his doping control was determined to have been mishandled. Mishandled in a Swiss lab who received funding from the same governing body he had made enormous contributions to. Suspicious? Secondly, let’s remember that while he was racing, there was no test for HGH. There was no test for analogous blood transfusions. There was no test for synthetic EPO. The hundreds of tests he passed were not for IF there was EPO in his blood, (because it occurs naturally), but how much. With even “unannounced” blood testing being well known in advance to the riders, all that was needed was to test their blood themselves beforehand (quite easy I assure you) and be sure their EPO levels were below 50. As we well know now, and at the time, passing a test did no mean you weren’t dirty, it just meant you weren’t stupid. If you need more info, just read “The Death of Marco Pantani” and you’ll understand that Lance wasn’t a bad man for doping, nor was he a bad man for denying. He’s a bad man for having profited off the vulnerability of millions of Americans who based their hopes on his triumphs. Triumphs based on lies and deception.

Singletrackroadie - 08/24/12 - 2:24am

Never been great Lance fan, but good grief this seems to be a couple of people out to make a name for themselfs. How many years has he been fighting this??? They should just let it go as the sport has suffered enough…and that is all I really care about. Side point – if the UCI does not recognise the USADA juristiction and the TdF is a UCI sanctioned race, will he really be stripped of titles?

Peter - 08/24/12 - 2:27am

That being said, I had no desire to see governing bodies come to this. I was content to let the general public believe that Lance won clean. (After all, he did win against a bunch of other dopers.) I was hoping this issue would just be laid to rest without the bounty for Lance. While I am certain he was a cheater, it’s hard for me to believe his crimes caused any harm, or hurt anyone. He was merely playing the game as it was meant to be played at the time. I simply don’t see the benefit to all this.

Mindless - 08/24/12 - 2:37am

USADA are pathetic twits. Eff them

Mindless - 08/24/12 - 2:38am

So now the caught doper Ulrich is a three time champ?

LOL. That’s bullshit.

RoDe - 08/24/12 - 2:52am

Ok this bullish*t has to stop. They might as well stop cycling all together since every single one of them is on dope plane and simple. Try and do what they do at the speeds they do it at and you’ll understand why. It is not humane.

He wasn’t caught by the UCI over all these years. But now the almighty idiots at the USADA have to make a name for them selves.

Again this sport has lost all it’s appeal. I’m against doping but this is not the way to go against it. Doping has been in cycling since forever, Merckx, Coppi to name just a few.
The USADA is not doing the sport a service with this witch hunt and it will have severe consequences for the name of the sport.

Bahrd - 08/24/12 - 2:53am

“Mindless – 08/24/12 – 2:38am
So now the caught doper Ulrich is a three time champ?”
Nice catch!

hp - 08/24/12 - 3:14am

lance armstrong is a cheater

theendinfrench - 08/24/12 - 5:26am

This is a very clever move… the guys who think he’s innocent can agree with the ‘lets move on’ argument and the ‘he’s doped up to his eyeballs’ guys/gals can say he’s avoiding the issue because he knows he’ll lose.

I think he probably did dope but so did everyone else and he still won…
The sport as moved on and so should everyone else!

Brent - 08/24/12 - 7:17am

Finally… I have been waiting for years to have him catched, he just pass way too much the limits of what could be “tolerated”.
It doesn’t remove how much he has been suffering on the bike, but highlight how he broke the “balance” you could have among the other “medically assisted people”…

Ouam - 08/24/12 - 7:31am

High level sports are money games and national propaganda.
In relation to what we are in the depths of ourselves.
Doping is not only usual, but the only one way to reach the Graal.
Society is just hypocritical, as with war, violence and hunger….
The comptétition is bad for health, then release the competitive sport and allow doping control under real medical control.

renevets - 08/24/12 - 7:32am

I would like to know, to the penny, what this has cost in taxpayer dollars. A counter showing the running total of taxpayer dollars spent to discredit Lance Armstrong should be displayed on screen whenever this topic is discussed on television.

alex - 08/24/12 - 8:53am

So… does this make the Tour de France and professional cycling just a fraud and huge waste of time?

JB - 08/24/12 - 8:57am

Today a round of Shiner Bock’s will be raised today in Texas to the toast “It’s great when a plan comes together”. This strategy has been easy to see coming. They have been slowly but surely building the “charade” story for months, capped off by calling in one last favor with McQuaid. Now, the dirt stays behind closed doors, Lance becomes a martyr to the system, and the public keeps whatever opinion they had of him going in. Reading the comments section on this or any other site this morning proves the strategy a success. If nothing else, he’s incredibly clever.

My favorite quote – “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”. Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot….

Snick - 08/24/12 - 9:21am

Well said JB.

Has anyone ever proposed an amnesty for riders and their results prior to 2003 (or so) and lifetime bans from then forward? Seems like that sort of tiered approach might enable the sport to move beyond the pervasive use of adavanced drugs through the 90s without constantly having to revisit and revile all the heroes of that era. Zero tolerance moving forward.

Krank - 08/24/12 - 10:18am

congratulations Jan Ullrich, 4-time Tour de France winner! Sadly, Lance seemingly won’t be prosecuted for his fashion crimes while a pro, which were far more grievous than his doping violations.

Merican - 08/24/12 - 10:26am

Was’nt Lance Sponsored By A Pharmaceutical Company?

satisFACTORYrider - 08/24/12 - 11:40am

@JB – close on the swill but i believe it’s Michelob Ultra ” the healthy” beer! y’know..for people with active lives! it used to be shiner…

you(we) pay nothing -ZERO- to watch road racing. it’s free to sit on the side of the road. when was the last time you really got what you wanted when you didn’t have to earn or pay for it? just sayin’. getting all bent on something you got for nothing… get over it.

Whatever - 08/24/12 - 11:59am

Boy, the average BR reader hasn’t been at this a long time.

LA did this to himself. His comeback blood profiles indicate doping, thus the going forward ban and full a stop on triathlons. That, then, opened up he past.

Greed and hubris were Armstrong’s ultimate undoing and the pathway into looking at transgressions prior to the comeback. Being 7-time champ wasn’t enough for him after seeing what he called a “pathetic” win by a clean Sastre.

Perhaps now, LeMond is the only American to have won the great TdF and the only race the yellow-banded public seem to know exists. Hampsten’s win is equally exciting. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t know how to actually talk about this sport.

Those are the facts, everything else is being spun by those who haven’t read the actuals.

Brad4130 - 08/24/12 - 12:03pm

Merican has a excellent point – Lance was Sponsored by Pfisor and Merc two of the largest drug companies on the planet .
It’s been known fact on the inside in the cycli g industry that Lance has doped from as early on as the Moterola days
Seriously doping isn’t anything new , it’s the amount of evidence stacked against Lance that is forcing his statements above . This is what happens when a cheeter realizes he can’t win – they give up !
This needed to happen , wile overall is looks unfair to Lance and it is a bit harsh as a punishment .
Lance is being made an example of for pushing his “luck” into 7 wins .

Was doping cheeting ? Sure
Was Trek use of massive Team support to bully Lance to the front cheeting – possibly more than the drugs !!

Lemond did it first !
Lemond didn’t dope !
Lemond didn’t have huge team support !
Lemond won after having 1/2 his body shot off in a hunting accident !

#Armstrongcheeted !!

satisFACTORYrider - 08/24/12 - 12:15pm

@whatever – agreed. ego is the driver. i think Hampsten’s day on the Gavia is the BEST epic win for a tour and trumps any of LA’s wins for me. but i’m old school..

tmgd - 08/24/12 - 12:54pm

Put a line under it all and give all the TdF wins from that era to the Broom Wagon.

J.T. - 08/24/12 - 12:56pm

Lance Armstrong is innocent.

Opposing Views . Com - 08/24/12 - 1:11pm

Alex Groberman has an interesting perspective on the topic at opposingviews.com. It’s definitely a worthwhile read. Take a look in the sports section.

Opposing Views . Com - 08/24/12 - 1:14pm

Scratch that.. the author was actually Tim Dockery.

USADA’s Travis Tygart Plays Prosecutor, Jury and Judge in Lance Armstrong Case

uglyyeti - 08/24/12 - 1:26pm

Floyd Landis – 2006 TDF stage 17 – maybe the greatest solo effort ever caught on camera. Doped to the friggin’ gills, but a true Herculean effort nonetheless. Armstrong, Ullrich, Pantani – those were some exciting mountain stages.

Why were these riders even tested in the first place? Because steroids have been pervasive in competitive sports since the 70′s. How clean were Merckx, Hinault and Lemond? We’ll never know and nobody’s asking. Is there some kind of prize for being the guy that finally busts Lance? Name a beer for him like Eliot Ness?

I’m all for cleaning the sport up, as it was “cleaned up” before Lance, but you know what haven’t been very exciting? The more recent “clean” tours.

Roger - 08/24/12 - 1:49pm

I think that it has been stupid for them to continue to go after a retired cyclist. I think that they are just wasting taxpayer money. I also think that Lance probably doped but I have no evidence. Evidently they are now going to release the evidence. I will take a look and make conclusions of my own.

I can understand Lance just saying enough is enough. I would not like to see his legal bills they must be enormous.

Steve M - 08/24/12 - 2:03pm

I exceeded the speed limit at least four times on the way to work and probably rolled a few stops as well. I didn’t get a ticket, so hell yeah I am clean!

alex - 08/24/12 - 2:42pm

What does going after Lance accomplish? Maybe he doped, maybe not. But one thing is for sure- this will hurt the sport of cycling.

vhom - 08/24/12 - 2:48pm

Maybe he doped…Maybe he didn’t…I don’t care. I still will keep that poster of LA on my wall and continue to be inspire by him. But to each their own.

Whatever - 08/24/12 - 2:53pm

I hesitate to comment again. But one of the big rebuttals used by apologist is that everyone was on the stuff. Perhaps most. Sure. But most of that most from LA’s era have paid the piper. They have been punished.

Now to the how clean were Marco, Merckx, LeMond, Coppi, Moser, etc., etc.? Whether or not that whole lot of year’s past were on some kind of juice, we all need to agree that stuff was cough syrup compared to the 90s era doper regiment. So, even if you believe some of the heroes of this beautiful (and at times ugly) sport were dopers, or users of recreation drug, there was nothing available that could take a mid pack rider to team leader. That stuff was around in the 90s. And access to it was not universal nor was access to how to cheat with it properly universal either.

LeMond’s argument about implied wattage from that era speaks to this. There were chumps riding well ABOVE levels of history’s finest. And equipment improvements cannot explain that difference. Nor could training.

tee - 08/24/12 - 3:02pm

Travis Tygart is a dork

Leanne Rhymes With - 08/24/12 - 3:17pm

“I never sharded or even farted, but why are are you looking in my direction, everyone else totally s#@t themselves, that’s their smell just lingering around me, my underwear is clean”. -LA ,satirically speaking.

I don’t buy the with hunt gambit. When you assert yourself as the patron, the man to catch/beat, you can’t finger point when those out hunting bare down on you. In criminal law, this happens regularly and we applaud it, usually in organized crime, AFO, biker gangs, crime family’s etc. The lower on the achievement ladder get plea bargains, settlements, lesser sentences and the like. IF Lance is guilty, and yes, I hesitate to be definitive on this, because the laundry hasn’t been aired yet – so it not proven, its blow to the doping and cycling infrastructure, and culture. Pathetic mess that the tour titles would likely go to another convicted doper, but that’s another issue to get into… since UCI/WADA/USADA have all kinda shat their own back yard with the handling of this in some respects too.

alloycowboy - 08/24/12 - 4:02pm

If all else fails and you can’t catch Lance cheating you might as well just “Black Ball” him, it’s the American Way!

HWNSNBS - 08/24/12 - 4:12pm

@ Whatever–Cheers! to you, I agree with all of your posts–most of us ‘haters’ of LA were one time huge fans of his–his lack of balls (ohhh)–is pathetic, at least some of the past dopers have tried to repent i.e. Millar, but to deny to the end shows total lack of moral courage. As far as LA’s defenders–what dog could you possibly have in this fight? I’ve decided to take my own advice and STFU and go for a ride!

cycletv - 08/24/12 - 6:50pm

Nobody can take anything away from him. They can scratch his name off a title, but the titles are his.

uglyyeti - 08/24/12 - 9:30pm

Ultimate class shown by Ullrich today – he doesn’t want the titles.

The Rude Awakener - 08/25/12 - 12:31am

A cheater got his just desserts today. Rejoice.

Jay.T. - 08/25/12 - 3:31am

lance armstrong is a liar

Ouam - 08/25/12 - 5:25am

@cycletv:
Why not, you’re perhaps right, but what about Ben Johnson?…… Do you think his records and titles still are his…..?

teamunivega - 08/25/12 - 2:32pm

“…cocaine for the eyes, nitroglycerine for the gums, we ride on dynamite.” Lets just take all his blood out and if it won’t boil he’s a witch! If it does, we can throw his seven Jerseys down into the grave with him.

@GTROOPCOREY - 08/27/12 - 4:00pm

What I’ve read in the comment section is that not only does a mans word mean nothing anymore but that everyone who reads BR was with LA when he was doping.
Pure idiocrocy in here. A witch hunt is a witch hunt. Read the crucible and get back to me.

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