The US Anti-Doping Agency has said it’s stripped cyclist Lance Armstrong of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned him from the sport for life for doping.
The move follows Armstrong’s announcement on Thursday night that he would not pursue arbitration in a bid to clear himself of charges brought against him by USADA in June.
“USADA announced today that Lance Armstrong has chosen not to move forward with the independent arbitration process and as a result has received a lifetime period of ineligibility and disqualification of all competitive results from August 1, 1998 through the present,” USADA said in a statement on Friday.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough,'” Armstrong said in a statement posted on his website Lancearmstrong.com
“For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” he said.
Armstrong said USADA did not have the authority to vacate his Tour titles. However, USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart told The Associated Press that the agency could do it.
Tygart called the Armstrong case a “heartbreaking” example of a win-at-all costs approach to sports.
In the statement, Armstrong did not concede having used performance enhancing substances during his celebrated cycling career. On the contrary, he said he would “jump at the chance” to put the allegations to rest.
But Armstrong said he refused to participate in the USADA process, which he called “one-sided and unfair”.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Armstrong also alerted the USADA in a letter sent just before a midnight Thursday deadline that he would not fight the charges through arbitration.
“Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances,” he said in the statement.