AUSTIN, TX (BRAIN) Thursday August 23 2012 11:05 PM MT—A defiant Lance Armstrong on Thursday announced that he would not contest the U.S. Anti-doping Agency’s doping charges and would accept USADA’s penalties, which include being stripped of his seven Tours de France titles and any prizes he won from 1998 forward.
In a statement, Armstrong continued to deny ever doping and said USADA’s charges amounted to an “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,” he said.
Armstrong linked to his statement from his Twitter account, telling his 3.7 million Twitter followers that it was his response to USADA’s “pitiful charade.”
Not contesting the charges also means Armstrong accepts a lifetime ban from competing, coaching or having any official role with an Olympic sport.
USADA had said it had 10 witnesses ready to testify that they had knowledge of Armstrong’s doping. Earlier this week, a federal judge in Texas threw out Armstrong’s case that charges USADA did not have jurisdiction and would not protect his rights.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart told The New York Times that Armstrong’s acceptance was “a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes.”
“It’s yet another heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition,” Tygart said.
Tygart also told VeloNation.com’s Shane Stokes that he had expected Armstrong to end the fight.
“it was our expectation from the beginning. He knows all the evidence as well and he knows the truth, and so the smarter move on his part is to attempt to hide behind baseless accusations of process. It is pretty telling because the federal court was crystal clear on Monday that our process meets constitutional due process, and that is the appropriate forum for the evidence to be presented and all the arguments to be made.
The case is likely over, for now, but the UCI has the option to appeal Armstrong’s penalty to the Court for Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.