USADA Confirms Lifetime Ban for Armstrong

In a statement issued on Friday, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency confirmed that Lance Armstrong has received a lifetime ban. The ban extends to any sport governed by the U.S. and world anti-doping agencies. The ruling also disqualified all of Armstrong's results from 1 August 1998 to the present day. The USADA decision follows Armstrong's decision not to contest the doping allegations against him.

The charges included use and possession of banned substances, trafficking, administering banned substances to others, and assisting in the concealment of doping violations. The decision also cites aggravating circumstances to explain the severity of the sanction. According to the USADA statement:

Numerous witnesses provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong, or through Armstrong’s admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005, and that he had previously used EPO, testosterone and hGH through 1996.

Witnesses also provided evidence that Lance Armstrong gave to them, encouraged them to use and administered doping products or methods, including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from 1999 through 2005. Additionally, scientific data showed Mr. Armstrong’s use of blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions during Mr. Armstrong’s comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour de France.

As a consequence of the sanctions, Armstrong will lose his seven Tour de France titles and his third place finish at the 2009 Tour. The American also won 22 individual stages of the Tour, finished third in the time trial at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, won the 2001 Tour de Suisse, and won the 2002 and 2003 editions of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. There are also countless assorted placings. All of those results are apparently erased by this USADA decision, and it is unclear how cycling will decide to handle the wholesale revision of its history.

The USADA announcement follows the decision from Armstrong not to contest the doping charges against him. On his personal website on Thursday, Armstrong dismissed the investigation as "a witch hunt," and declared that the USADA had no authority to strip his Tour titles.

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