Cyclist Lance Armstrong has been banned from competing in triathlons and could be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in the wake of new allegations from the USADA.
In a shocking move today, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has brought formal charges against Armstrong, alleging that blood samples collected from the athlete in 2009 and 2010 were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”
The agency claims Armstrong and five other cyclists conspired to use and distribute illegal substances. They also claim that Armstrong has used EPO, testosterone, corticosteroids, blood transfusions and masking agents.
In a statement released to the press by his publicist, Armstrong denied the charges.
“I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence. Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me.”
Armstrong’s attorney Robert D. Luskin told the Washington Post:
“These charges are a product of malice and spite and not evidence. Nothing else explains the fact . . . they allege an overarching doping conspiracy among four teams over 14 years and Lance is the only rider that gets charged.”
If the USADA can prove its charges, Armstrong will lose his seven Tour de France titles and his reputation will be forever spoiled. If they’re proven false, Lance Armstrong has one heckuva lawsuit.
Armstrong was immediately banned from competing in triathlons, which knocks him out of the Ironman France-Nice on June 24.