Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is very likely to be stripped of his hard-earned titles and banned from competitive cycling for life after deciding not to fight doping charges by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." 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. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today - finished with this nonsense," wrote Lance Armstrong on his official website.
Just a few hours after Armstrong made the announcement, USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner said that he would be stripped of the his seven Tour de France titles and banned from competitive cycling for life.
"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive officer, said in a statement released to Reuters by the agency.
"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, but for clean athletes, it is a reassuring reminder that there is hope for future generations to compete on a level playing field without the use of performance-enhancing drugs," he added.
Armstrong, who won bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, could face punishment from World Anti-Doping Agency, International Cycling Union (UCI) and International Olympic Committee.
The cylist has decided to give up the fight but he has denied doping.
"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. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors," he wrote.
Questioning the purpose of various tests if USADA is not willing to buy them, he asked, "Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?"