Not long after seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong announced he would no longer fight allegations by The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he used and administered drugs to other cyclists, news came that the 40-year-old athlete will be stripped of his titles by the USADA and banned from competitive cycling for life.
Agency chief executive Travis Tygart made the announcement, calling the case a "heartbreaking" example, reports the Associated Press.
"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," Armstrong wrote to his blog shortly before the agency made their fateful decision. "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."
The famed cyclist's decision to decline arbitration with the USADA was speculated by many as tantamount to an admission of guilt. Nonetheless, Armstrong says that he was simply conceding to what he called a "witch hunt."
"I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair…This investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs," he continued. "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."
Although Armstrong was cleared by the U.S. Attorney's Office earlier this year following a two-year investigation into doping allegations, the USADA re-issued charges against the former cyclist in June, citing the emergence of previously unpublicized allegations. He later sued to stop the case from proceeding, but a federal judge threw out his lawsuit.
Regardless of the outcome, Armstrong asserts he will henceforth focus on his cancer organization, The Lance Armstrong foundation/ Livestrong.
"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… 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."
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