USADA bans Armstrong for life
LOS ANGELES, USA (AFP) — The US anti-doping agency banned Lance Armstrong for life yesterday and stripped him of the record seven Tour de France titles that helped him become an inspirational icon of US sports.
USADA branded Armstrong a dope cheat a day after the 40-year-old Texan said he wouldn't pursue a bid to clear himself of charges that he used performance enhancing drugs to win cycling's most prestigious race from 1999 to 2005.
The agency laid out five rule violations for which Armstrong has been sanctioned, saying the cancer survivor who became a hero to millions took part in a systematic doping conspiracy with his then US Postal Service team.
It said that, as Armstrong has dropped out of an arbitration process, he "has received a lifetime period of ineligibility and disqualification of all competitive results from August 1, 1998 through the present".
Along with his celebrated haul of Tour titles Armstrong stands to lose the Olympic bronze medal he won in 2000 along with other race titles, prize money and other awards.
Armstrong, the only cyclist to win the Tour de France more than five times, had long vehemently denied doping accusations.
But on Thursday he said had grown weary of the fight and the strain it had put on his personal and professional life.
"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say 'enough is enough'. For me, that time is now," he said in a statement.
The International Cycling Union, the sport's governing body based in Aigle, Switzerland, had been fighting USADA for jurisdiction of Armstrong's case and could launch an appeal or fail to recognise the move.