Early on Wednesday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced it is set to bring formal doping charges against Lance Armstrong, which could cost him his seven Tour de France titles, and has already cost him the chance to compete in Ironmans—at least for the time being. That is the simplest take on what's at stake. There are several people, corporations, and organizations who could be affected by the charges. Here's how some of the parties involved have responded, including Armstrong.
The USADA started things off by sending a letter to Lance Armstrong, former USPS team director Johan Bruyneel, Dr. Pedro Celaya, Dr. Luis del Moral, Dr. Michele Ferrari, and trainer Jose Pepe Marti for a series of anti-doping rule violations. The violations involve the use of erythropoietin, blood transfusions, testosterone, Human Growth Hormone, corticosteroids, and saline and plasma infusions. All of the notified parties have 10 days to respond. After they respond, the USADA board will determine how to proceed. Depending on what happens, Armstrong could receive a minimum four-year, and up to a lifetime, ban from cycling and might be stripped of his Tour de France titles. For more: Read the letter from the USADA, and reports by Velo News and The New York Times.
The World Triathlon Corporation announced Armstrong was ineligible to compete in Ironmans until at least the resolution of the investigation. The sport had received boosts in their television time, online traffic, and marketing opportunities as a result of Armstrong's presence in competitions this year. For more: Read Forbes, Triathlete, and BusinessWeek.
The UCI, professional cycling's governing body, said they knew nothing about the information until recently. "This is the first time USADA has communicated to UCI on this subject," the UCI said in a statement. "The UCI is not aware of the information that is available to USADA on the persons concerned and has not been involved in the proceedings opened by USADA." One of the biggest accusations made in the USADA report, that an Armstrong test result from the Tour de Suisse was covered up, has some experts worrying the UCI's reputation could be damaged. For more: Armstrong and the Authorities Comment on Cycling Charges, Cycling News and USADA Case Against Armstrong Could Damage UCI, Ashenden says, Cycling News
In his full statement on lancearmstrong.com, some of which is included below, he denies doping:
These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.
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. For more: Read lancearmstrong.com.
Those suffering from Armstrong-doping fatigue have already started in on the comment boards, like on this ESPN article: "Armstrong passes 500 drug tests and that isn't enough. Leave this man alone already!" —ilikeprimenumbers. For more: Read Christine Brennan's take on Armstrong-doping fatigue.