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Lance Armstrong says he'll be 'great' in wake of USADA punishment

He finishes second in the Power of Four mountain bike race on Saturday, saying afterward, 'Nobody needs to cry for me. I'm going to be great.'

August 25, 2012|By Dan Loumena
  • Lance Armstrong shakes hands with winner Keegan Swirbul, left, after the Power of Four mountain bike race on Saturday in Aspen, Colo.
Lance Armstrong shakes hands with winner Keegan Swirbul, left, after the… (Riccardo S. Savi / Getty…)

Lance Amstrong, a day after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency banned him from international cycling competition and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles, finished second in a mountain bike race and afterward said there's no need to worry about him.

"Nobody needs to cry for me. I'm going to be great," said Armstrong, who was second to teenager Keegan Swirbul at the Power of Four race in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday.

Donning a black and gold outfit emblazoned with his Livestrong logo, Armstrong was in a comfort zone during the 36-mile race that featured plenty of climbs, a specialty that helped him win cycling's most coveted road race every year from 1999 to 2005.

On Thursday, Armstrong announced he would not continue to fight the doping allegations levied by the USADA, opting not to go to arbitration, his last option in a long legal battle. Earlier last week, a U.S. district judge denied Armstrong's request for a permanent injunction of USADA’s charges. The cycling champion said the agency did not have jurisdiction and that it was violating his constitutional rights to due process.

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The final steps in Armstrong's ban and, more importantly, the stripping of his titles will be how the sport's governing body and Tour de France organizers rule. The International Cycling Union has been on record as saying the USADA doesn't have jurisdiction in such matters.

Armstrong has sternly denied the claims that he has cheated, pointing to his clean drug tests over the years.

“USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles,” he said Thursday. “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.”

Travis Tygart, chief executive of USADA, offered a differing opinion: "This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition. But for clean athletes, it is a reassuring reminder that there is hope for future generations to compete on a level playing field without the use of performance-enhancing drugs."

The court of public opinion, which often supercedes legal action, appeared to be falling on Armstrong's side. His Livestrong foundation, which is dedicated to helping cancer patients and organizations in their battle against the disease, reported more than 400 donations totaling $75,000 on Friday.

Saturday, though, was another race day for the 40-year-old cyclist.

In typical Armstrong fashion, he chatted with fans after crossing the finish line and then uttered words most can relate to: "OK, I'm going to go eat a cheeseburger."

The Associated Press contribued to this report.


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