Lance Armstrong stripped of all Tour de France titles
The United States Anti-Doping Agency has stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles after the cycling icon announced he would stop fighting drug charges against him.
The USADA says the 40-year old will be barred from cycling for life and stripped of all results dating back to 1998.
However, cycling's governing body, the International Cycling Union, may launch an appeal or refuse to recognise the move.
Armstrong has strenuously denied he ever used banned substances, and accused the USADA of carrying out an “unconditional which hunt” against him.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough’. For me, that time is now,” the 40-year old posted on his website.
“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.”
However, Armstrong says the USADA “cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours.”
His decision came after a federal court in Texas dismissed his lawsuit against the USADA’s investigation.
Armstrong won the first of his seven consecutive titles in 1999 after a bout of testicular cancer.
But over the years, successive teammates have accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2005, the French newspaper L’Equipe reported that tests on Armstrong’s urine samples during the 1999 Tour tested positive to the blood boosting substance EPO.