COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (August 24, 2012)--The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Friday erased 14 years of Lance Armstrong's career and stripped him of seven Tour de France titles, negating one of the most incredible achievements in sports, after deciding Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs to do it.
The USADA also banned Armstrong from cycling for life.
Armstrong, who’s from Plano and lives in Austin, retired from cycling a year ago.
An athlete who became a hero to thousands for overcoming cancer and for his foundation's fight against the disease is now officially a drug cheat in the eyes of his nation's doping agency.
In a news release, USADA said Armstrong's decision not to take the charges against him to arbitration triggers the lifetime ineligibility and forfeiture of all results from Aug. 1, 1998, through the present, which would include the Tour de France titles he won from 1999 through 2005.
“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.”
Armstrong has strongly denied doping and contends USADA was on a "witch hunt" without any physical evidence against him.
The organizers of the Tour de France said Friday they would wait to see what happens before commenting on Armstrong's case.
But the International Cycling Union said it wants USADA to explain why Armstrong should lose his titles.
Amaury Sport Organization, which runs the world's most prestigious race, said Friday that it would not comment until it had heard more from both of the bodies.