Update at 10:55 a.m.: It's now officially official. The USADA has formally instituted a lifetime ban against Armstrong and erasing all competitive results since Aug. 1, 1999. That includes his seven Tour victories. From the USADA's statement:
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.
Original post: It always seemed a little bit too perfect: Plano native Lance Armstrong, a very good but not quite elite cyclist battles life-threatening cancer, then returns to the sport and miraculously dominates for nearly a decade. That narrative, chipped away at for years by doping allegations, was dealt a more or less final blow last night.
Last night, the AP reported that, three days after a judge tossed his challenge to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong had stopped fighting the charges that he used performance enhancing drugs. That quickly led to an announcement from USADA chief executive Travis Tygart that Armstrong will be barred from cycling for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
Armstrong still denies the doping charges and said the USADA doesn't have the authroity to strip his Tour titles. You can read his full statement here.
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"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough,' " Armstrong said in a statement. "For me, that time is now."