Lance Armstrong’s capitulation on Thursday to years of aggressive inquiries into his alleged use of banned performance enhancers was widely interpreted as an admission of guilt, and resulted in the seven-time Tour de France winner being stripped of all his titles and banned from competition cycling for life.
But for Armstrong, the end of one battle means the beginning of another: He is expected to challenge the revocations before the cycling authorities and the private company that runs the tour, especially since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the group that leveled the accusations against Armstrong, could go after his millions of dollars in winnings. The scandal also endangers his sporting legacy and the charity he founded to assist cancer survivors.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say: ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said. “I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven tours since 1999. 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.”
Four of Armstrong’s corporate sponsors—Nike, Oakley, Anheuser-Busch InBev and energy food maker Honey Stinger—all stand by the embattled cyclist. Marketing experts cite Armstrong’s contributions to social causes as the reason consumers will continue to respect him, which would allow companies to retain him without a hit to their bottom lines.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
The move came after a US court ruled against Armstrong’s attempts to block Usada’s investigation. He consistently maintained he never failed a test for banned substances, although that is disputed. But Usada said its investigation revealed a systematic programme of drug misuse in Armstrong’s team and claimed 10 of the cyclist’s former team mates would testify that he was at the heart of it. The agency also told Armstrong it has blood samples from two and three years ago that are “fully consistent” with illegal doping.
… Usada’s chief executive, Travis Tygart, called Armstrong’s move sad but said it was hailed an important step toward ending cheating in sport which costs honest athletes their place on the podium. “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.”
Gideon Tsang (CC BY-SA 2.0)