WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - After years of fighting allegations of doping, Lance Armstrong will be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and be banned from the sport of cycling for life at the professional level.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the official anti-doping agency for Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sports in the U.S., announced the career-altering punishment late Thursday.
“It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes,” said USADA CEO Travis Tygart. “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.”
The ban came shortly after Lance Armstrong said in a statement he will not enter arbitration to fight doping charges brought against him by the USADA.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough,” Armstrong’s statement read. “For me, that time is now.”
The USADA says it will be stripping Armstrong of all results since Aug. 1, 1998.
Armstrong has been battling allegations from the doping agency for years, saying in court documents past that he has never once tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in the 500 to 600 tests he’s been subjected to.
There is a dispute however, over who should be the governing body in this case, depending on whose side you’re on. The International Cycling Federation, which is the official cycling organization recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee, says that it should have jurisdiction in this decision, not the USADA. Armstrong agrees with this sentiment.
This all comes after a federal judge dismissed Armstrong’s lawsuit against the USADA, saying the agency can rightfully claim jurisdiction over Armstrong’s case.
“If these bodies wish to damage the image of their sport through bitter infighting, they will have to do so without the involvement of the United States courts,” said U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks.
Lance Armstrong was then faced with a Thursday deadline to decide if he would continue to dispute the USADA’s charges.
In his statement, Armstrong added, “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.”
Armstrong says he will go back to doing what he did before winning seven Tour de France titles in serving people in families affected by cancer.