Lance Armstrong, the most revered and respected bicyclist of all time, is facing all a whole new set of doping accusations.
According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is bringing charges against the seven-time Tour de France winner that could ultimately result in him having to vacate all of his victories. Beyond that, depending on what further investigations uncover, Armstrong could also end up getting banned from the sport that made him a superstar in the hearts and minds of fans all over the world.
As noted by the Associated Press, USADA sent a letter to Armstrong informing him of the things he’s being accused of, as well as notice that doping charges would be brought against the manager of his winning teams, his doctors and his team manager. In that same letter, USADA wrote that Armstrong is being accused of “promoting the use of the blood booster EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, human growth hormone and anti-inflammatory steroids.”
For the time being, this move by USADA precludes Armstrong from participating in triathlons – something that he’s been doing frequently ever since his retirement from cycling.
Unsurprisingly, Armstrong has already issued a statement on the matter.
“I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned. These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation.
“These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.
“I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence.”
Armstrong has been on the wrong end of doping accusations for many years now, but nobody has actually been able to prove anything up to this point. It’s hard to envision USADA coming out with this public of a move without substantial evidence; however, Armstrong has earned the right to be viewed innocent until he’s actually proven to be guilty.