Armstrong loses cycling titles
Top US cyclist Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and handed a lifetime ban by the US Anti-Doping Agency after electing not to contest doping charges brought against him.
The 40-year-old announced his decision on Thursday night and USADA quickly stated their intention to severely punish the American.
And they have confirmed those sanctions in a lengthy statement issued on their website.
It read: "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, as the result of his anti-doping rule violations stemming from his involvement in the United States Postal Service (USPS) Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy (USPS Conspiracy)."
Armstrong, who was charged in June, sought a temporary restraining order against the agency's legal action but that was dismissed in a federal court in Austin, Texas on Monday.
USADA claim once that action failed Armstrong had until midnight on Thursday to contest the evidence against him in an arbitrary hearing, and was fully aware of the consequences of not doing so.
The statement said: "As a result of Mr. Armstrong's decision, USADA is required under the applicable rules, including the World Anti-Doping Code under which he is accountable, to disqualify his competitive results and suspend him from all future competition."
The statement goes on to give details of some of the evidence USADA claim to have gathered against Armstrong.
More than a dozen witnesses, up to 10 of whom are believed to be former team-mates, agreed to testify and give evidence against Armstrong, who has never failed a drugs test.
Part of the statement claims USADA received evidence Armstrong was doping in 1996, prior to his battle with testicular cancer, which set his Tour triumphs in the most heroic of contexts, and in 2009, after making his return to the sport following his initial retirement.