The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency [USADA] is moving to strip U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles. The agency also has banned Armstrong from the sport for life.
A USADA statement Friday said Armstrong’s decision not to take charges against him to arbitration resulted in the penalties, meaning his Tour de France titles from 1999-2005 are forfeited. The agency said he had “numerous anti-doping violations, including his involvement in trafficking and administering doping products to others.”
The USADA says it expects cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union, to take similar action. The ICU, however, which has been battling with the U.S. agency for jurisdiction in the Armstrong case, is demanding the USADA first reveal details of its case against the cyclist.
A third party to the controversy, the Amaury Sport Organization, which runs the Tour de France, said it will not comment on the matter until a hearing with the USADA and the Cycling Union takes place.
Armstrong’s attorney, Robert Luskin, is quoted in The Washington Post as saying the USADA can not unilaterally strip Armstrong of his titles, because the doping agency did not award them.
The USADA move came one day after the 40-year-old Armstrong said he would stop fighting the doping charges even though there was “zero physical evidence” to support the allegations. He had never tested positive for banned substances, but USADA said it had evidence from more than a dozen witnesses that the star cyclist had used them.
Armstrong retired last year and has been a hero to many for overcoming testicular cancer and for his foundation’s support for cancer research.