Update: From AP...
Armstrong said Thursday that he would not pursue arbitration in the doping case brought against him by USADA, causing his seven Tour de France titles to be stripped Friday by the American agency.
But the International Cycling Union says 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.
Big news in cycling today...
The United States Anti-Doping Agency says it will strip famed cyclist Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles after Armstrong released a statement last night that started with the sentence, "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough,'" and went on to say he will no longer fight USADA's allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his unprecedented streak.
USADA is now in a dispute with the International Cycling Union over who has jurisdiction to take such an action, and Armstrong's lawyers have threatened a lawsuit if he is actually stripped of his titles.
From Armstrong's statement last night:
If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and – once and for all – put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?
From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges. The international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate in USADA’s improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are made without authority. And as many others, including USADA’s own arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process. USADA has broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade USADA to honor its obligations. At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach. On top of all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that circumvent their own rules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those riders continue to race today. Full statement
Armstrong's statement came just three days after a federal judge threw out his lawsuit against USADA. The suit contended that the agency lacks jurisdiction in the matter and that Armstrong's constitutional rights were being violated by its process of arbitration.
Today's news brings to mind Armstrong's appearance in May on -- of all places -- the first episode of The Gavin Newsom show on Current TV. At that point, Armstrong was feeling a bit more chipper in light of federal prosecutors having dropped their own investigation a couple of months prior. The Newsom segment made headlines for Armstrong's comments, which were similar in tone to yesterday's statement...
"I'm certainly sick and tired of dealing with all this," Armstrong said. "There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds -- and I mean five or six hundred -- doping controls that are all negative. Blood, urine, hair, whatever they wanted to take. At some point somebody's going to have to answer that question... You can imagine, These things take a ton of time and attention and energy; they suck the life out of you."
Newsom also asked Armstrong if we lived in a "culture of cynicism" in which "when we witness greatness, we immediately question it?"
Take a look; here's the clip from the Chronicle's Politics Blog: