Lance Armstrong Refuses Anti-Doping Arbitration
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has giving up fighting the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He is also refusing to participate in the agency's legal arbitration proceedings against him.
Why did Armstrong stop fighting--and does the USADA really have the authority to take away his titles, as it claims? Read on and find out.
What Were the Charges Against Armstrong?
The USADA claims that Armstrong engaged in steroid use and blood doping from 1998 on--including the seven titles in a row he won from '99 to '05. This despite the fact that he passed over 500 drug tests during his career, never failing one.
The USADA charges did not come until a few months after the U.S. Department of Justice investigated Armstrong, finding insufficient evidence to convict or even charge him.
How was Armstrong Fighting The Legal Arbitration?
For nearly two months, Lance Armstrong refused to participate in arbitration with the agency. He claimed that the charges were bogus and that the panel would be fixed.
Instead of submitting to arbitration, he instead challenged the Agency in court, claiming they did not have the jurisdiction or authority to charge him. While the agency does receive most of its funding from federal sources, it is not actually a government agency.
"Enough if Enough"--No Arbitration for Armstrong
While a federal circuit judge in Austin did express concern about the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's process (or lack thereof), he ultimately decided that the agency did have the jurisdiction it claimed. He did however note that the agency's “conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives.”
In a statement released on his website, Armstrong said that "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.'" and says that the criminal investigations of the last two years have taken a toll from which he is ready to move on. The statement goes on to call the USADA's proceedings a "witch hunt", claiming that the only physical evidence in the case consists of the hundreds of drug tests Armstrong took during his career.
While the USADA announced that it will strip Armstrong of his titles, it cannot do this on its own. The International Cyclist Union has requested that the USADA submit a "reasoned decision explaining the action taken," and will have no further comment to make until it receives said decision.