June 13, 2012 (Colorado Springs, CO) – The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has formally charged seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong reports the Washington Post. If convicted, Armstrong could lose his seven TdF titles. Meanwhile he is immediately banned from triathlon competitions – a sport he has taken to since retiring from cycling.
Armstrong, 40, won an unprecedented seven consecutive TdFs from 1999-2005 riding for the US Postal and the Discovery Channel teams. Armstrong also made the news earlier this month with a victory at the Ironman 70.3 in Hawaii and another triathlon Ironman victory in Florida. Yet throughout his cycling career, there were allegations he was doping, a charge Armstrong always denied.
“I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one,” Armstrong said in a statement. “That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence. Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me.”
According to a statement from USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart, “In response to numerous inquiries regarding the public statements made by Mr. Lance Armstrong, we can confirm that written notice of allegations of anti-doping rule violations was sent yesterday to him and to five (5) additional individuals all formerly associated with the United States Postal Service (USPS) professional cycling team. These individuals include three (3) team doctors and two (2) team officials. This formal notice letter is the first step in the multi-step legal process for alleged sport anti-doping rule violations.”
“USADA only initiates matters supported by the evidence. We do not choose whether or not we do our job based on outside pressures, intimidation or for any reason other than the evidence. Our duty on behalf of clean athletes and those that value the integrity of sport is to fairly and thoroughly evaluate all the evidence available and when there is credible evidence of doping, take action under the established rules.”
“As in every USADA case, all named individuals are presumed innocent of the allegations unless and until proven otherwise through the established legal process. If a hearing is ultimately held then it is an independent panel of arbitrators, not USADA that determines whether or not these individuals have committed anti-doping rule violations as alleged.”
“At this time USADA will not comment on the evidence or have further comment unless or until it is appropriate.”
In February, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles closed its investigation of Armstrong’s alleged doping without bringing forth charges.