U.S. Anti-Doping Administration Chief Executive Travis Tygart, shown… (Chip Somodevilla / Getty…)
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a statement Friday morning, stripping cyclist Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and giving him a lifetime competitive ban. The move followed Armstrong's announcement Thursday night that he was not going to fight doping charges in arbitration.
Here is the statement issued by the USADA:
Lance Armstrong Receives Lifetime Ban And Disqualification Of Competitive Results For Doping Violations Stemming From His Involvement In The United States Postal Service Pro-Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy
Colorado Springs, Colo. (August 24, 2012) – USADA announced today that Lance Armstrong has chosen not to move forward with the independent arbitration process and as a result has received a lifetime period of ineligibility and disqualification of all competitive results from August 1, 1998 through the present, as the result of his anti-doping rule violations stemming from his involvement in the United States Postal Service (USPS) Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy (USPS Conspiracy).
Following the dismissal of Mr. Armstrong’s lawsuit on Monday, August 20, 2012, by the federal court in Austin, Texas, Mr. Armstrong had until midnight on Thursday, August 23, to contest the evidence against him in a full evidentiary hearing with neutral arbitrators as provided by U.S. law. However, when given the opportunity to challenge the evidence against him, and with full knowledge of the consequences, Mr. Armstrong chose not to contest the fact that he engaged in doping violations from at least August 1, 1998 and participated in a conspiracy to cover up his actions. As a result of Mr. Armstrong’s decision, USADA is required under the applicable rules, including the World Anti-Doping Code under which he is accountable, to disqualify his competitive results and suspend him from all future competition.
“Nobody wins when an athlete decides to cheat with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, but clean athletes at every level expect those of us here on their behalf, to pursue the truth to ensure the win-at-all-cost culture does not permanently overtake fair, honest competition” said USADA CEO, Travis T. Tygart. “Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case.”
As is every athlete’s right, if Mr. Armstrong would have contested the USADA charges, all of the evidence would have been presented in an open legal proceeding for him to challenge. He chose not to do this knowing these sanctions would immediately be put into place.
The evidence against Lance Armstrong arose from disclosures made to USADA by more than a dozen witnesses who agreed to testify and provide evidence about their first-hand experience and/or knowledge of the doping activity of those involved in the USPS Conspiracy as well as analytical data. As part of the investigation Mr. Armstrong was invited to meet with USADA and be truthful about his time on the USPS team but he refused.
On June 12, 2012, USADA issued a notice letter informing Mr. Armstrong and five other individuals, including the USPS team director, team trainer and three team doctors, of USADA’s intent to open proceedings against them. On June 28, 2012, following a review process set forth in the applicable rules, USADA notified Mr. Armstrong and the other five individuals that the independent review panel’s finding confirmed sufficient and in fact overwhelming evidence, and that USADA was charging them with rule violations.
Numerous witnesses provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong,or through Armstrong’s admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005, and that he had previously used EPO, testosterone and hGH through 1996. Witnesses also provided evidence that Lance Armstrong gave to them, encouraged them to use and administered doping products or methods, including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from 1999 through 2005. Additionally, scientific data showed Mr. Armstrong’s use of blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions during Mr. Armstrong’s comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour de France.
The anti-doping rule violations for which Mr. Armstrong is being sanctioned are:
(1) Use and/or attempted use of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.
(2) Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.